Q&A: House District 29 Candidate Joy Garratt
- NAME: Joy I. Garratt
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Recently retired teacher/incumbent legislator
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Two years as a state legislator, 28 years as a teacher and instructional coach serving K-12, former state treasurer for AFT NM, former neighborhood association vice president, small business owner
- EDUCATION: B.A., history and psychology concentrations, Excelsior College; M.A., educational leadership and TESOL, University of New Mexico
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: joy4newmexico.com
What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?
The Legislature must craft a budget with attention to tax reform and funding education. We must ensure New Mexicans have access to adequate health care and address economic initiatives that prioritize small businesses. Some vital initiatives will have to be put on hold until we stabilize the economy and state revenues.
What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?
We must thoroughly audit existing services and programs serving our Hispanic, Native American, and African-American students; our students with disabilities; and our English language learners. Then we must map out a timeline prioritizing the steps we will take with available funding, ensure staff are in place and establish accountability boards.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
House Bill 6 (tax changes) became law as of July 1, 2019, and reduced the GRT deduction for hospitals in every category. It also expanded the GRT to include taxation of remote/internet sales and called for additional changes after July 2021. Let’s see how these do and consider next steps!
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
In 2019, after deep study of Senate and House proposals and discussion with people holding a continuum of perspectives, I voted for the final compromise legalizing recreational cannabis. Taxing cannabis sales can generate revenue to make up for lost taxes if we stop taxing Social Security or veterans’ pensions.
Do you believe changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis. If so, do you believe such powers should be expanded or reduced and in what specific ways?
It is impossible to anticipate what health pandemics or times of crisis may occur in the future. The governor has been explicit and transparent about the scientific justification for carrying out emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing legislative input while they are in effect would be beneficial.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I support repealing the long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion. In New Mexico, women should always have the right to make their own health care decisions, decisions made in consultation with their medical professionals, trusted family members and personal beliefs and faith.
Do you support or oppose enacting a new state law that would allow police officers and other public officials to be sued individually by abolishing the defense of qualified immunity?
Special Session HB 5 created a Civil Rights Commission, including law enforcement, that is looking at qualified immunity. This policy protects law enforcement officers from frivolous lawsuits; however, if an officer clearly violates an individual’s civil or constitutional rights, that individual shouldn’t lose the right to bring a civil action.
In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?
I support it, but note that the previously proposed legislation contained specific parameters protecting the integrity of the LGPF. If passed, the legislation must then be approved by the people of New Mexico and the U.S. Congress.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its election laws and primary system? Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
22% of New Mexican voters do not affiliate with any party. I support partially open primaries where decline-to-state and minor party members may participate in elections, like our current primaries, that are financed with public money. If a party finances its own primary, it does not need to be open.
Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?
I support a merit-based statewide nonpartisan evaluation system to determine how to allocate capital outlay funding. I have cosponsored legislation for the last two years requiring each legislator to disclose which projects he or she funded. This is public money and public expenditures should be transparent.
New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should the state take to diversify its economy and revenue base?
With more than nine major economic theaters available for expansion beyond extractive industries, we need to expand: outdoor recreation, the remote worker industry, the space industry, international trade with Asia and Mexico, agriculture (including hemp), retirement options, entrepreneurial startups support, re-shoring manufacturing, digital and film media, and technology.
Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?
Due to current revenue falls, I don’t support a fracking moratorium at this time. However, fracking cannot be permitted to endanger fragile cultural treasures such as Chaco Canyon. We must protect limited ground water supplies from contamination and transfer to renewable forms of energy as quickly as possible.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
In collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, the Legislature must facilitate and help finance common statewide communication and crime-tracking technology so agencies and officers can easily communicate, share data, and work together. We must expand drug treatment and behavioral and mental health access to address root causes of crime.
Do you support or oppose the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers? Under what circumstances, if any, should police video be withheld from the public?
I support the public’s right to inspect body camera footage where it doesn’t unduly intrude on issues of personal privacy, reveal the identity of a confidential informant, or is a video of the individual’s own encounter with law enforcement. This is a new area of law throughout the country.
Members of New Mexico’s business community contend some state laws and regulations need changing so the state can better compete with Texas and Arizona when it comes to attracting companies. What steps do you believe should be taken to improve New Mexico’s economic competitiveness?
Amazon, Facebook and Netflix have invested in and moved here under existing state laws and regulations. COVID-19 has demonstrated that national and international companies can hire remote workers living in any state – the affordability and beauty of New Mexico will make our state increasingly attractive to a variety of businesses.
Personal background 1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.