Q&A: House District 28 Candidate Tom Stull

  • NAME: Thomas Ray Stull
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Corporate Executive
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science degree in education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska; Master of Arts degree in education, Chapman University, Orange, California
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: As a senior military officer and corporate executive, I led organizations comprised of hundreds of individuals and managed budgets exceeding billions of dollars. I now want to take that leadership experience and management expertise to Santa Fe to better represent the constituents of District 28 and the people of New Mexico.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: StullforNM.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 governor and Legislature have an obligation to balance the budget. First priority needs to be cutting spending by reducing or eliminating nonessential government programs and activities. Second is furloughing of nonessential state employees. Balancing the budget should not be at the expense of more taxation of citizens and businesses.

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?

The issue of failing public education in New Mexico is not because of the amount of funding. We need to ensure that the majority of funds budgeted for education make it to the classroom to support the teacher and students as a priority, not the bureaucracy.

What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

New Mexico GRT is complex and makes doing business in the state less competitive than in surrounding states. Eliminate NMGRT and apply a competitive state sales tax on par with neighboring states.

Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?

Oppose. Look at our neighbor to the north, Colorado, and all of the unintended consequences they are dealing with. Unlike alcohol, law enforcement has no definitive measure/metric to judge when one is under the influence while driving with marijuana.

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?

Changes should be made to limit executive powers during a crisis. First, no executive order should infringe on citizens’ constitutional rights, state or federal. Second, the duration of a governor’s declaration of an emergency should be limited. Any further need of emergency powers should be referred to the Legislature.

Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?

Oppose. The 1969 state law should be upheld and enforced.

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?

Oppose. Opening up ethical police officers to open-ended litigation while performing their duties and responsibilities for the public good would be counter-productive to public safety, effective law and order, as well as retention of the “best and brightest”of police. Disciplinary procedures are established to deal with the few unethical officers.

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?

Oppose. Spending limits were placed on these funds from their inception for a reason, to keep them solvent! This is a misallocation of Land Grant Permanent Funds. Once a program like this is initiated, it needs long-term budgetary planning, not withdrawals from the Permanent Fund and depletion of its capital standing.

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?

Oppose. The primary election process is presently set up to preclude opposing parties from creating deliberate chaos.

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?

Yes, I would support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding. Yes, each legislator should be required to disclose which projects he or she funded. Transparency in government is a good thing and necessary!

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?

We need to pursue more high-tech industry and provide them with tax incentives, access to affordable, reliable utilities, and access to high-speed/broadband internet. Our once-vibrant tourism trade has been devastated by COVID mandates of this administration. We need to rebuild, invigorate it throughout the state and protect it.

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?

Oppose a moratorium on fracking. Fracking has proven to be a safe and effective means to reach oil deposits that would otherwise not be accessible.

Within the last two years we have become energy independent. That has significant national security implications!

What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?

I would increase the New Mexico State Patrol budget to hire additional officers. The NMSP would then establish a permanent task force presence in Albuquerque to work in coordination with Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Albuquerque Police Department to specifically address issues of gang violence, drug trafficking and human trafficking.

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 under the circumstances of: There is not an ongoing investigation and release would not compromise that investigation. That the privacy rights of innocent citizens can be protected.

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.

Move from the New Mexico gross receipts tax system to a sales tax competitive with our neighboring states. Pass a “right-to-work” law in New Mexico. The “closed shop” environment stifles competitiveness.

What steps do you believe should be taken to improve New Mexico’s economic competitiveness?

Move from the New Mexico gross receipts tax system to a sales tax competitive with our neighboring states. Pass a “right-to-work”law in New Mexico. The “closed shop”environment stifles competitiveness.

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?

No

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No

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.

No

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