Q&A: House District 30 Candidate Randall Sobien

  • NAME: Randall Sobien
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Libertarian
  • OCCUPATION: Certified pharmacy technician
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: None
  • EDUCATION: High school graduate, vocational school
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: facebook.com/randallfornm

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?

Honestly, we need to open the economy back up. Shouldn’t have been closed to begin with. The government should have acted in an advisory role, not forcing closures.

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?

Public education is a politician’s favorite playground, and that is dangerous to the students. Parents should take a more active role in their child’s education, and I support a school voucher system to create healthy competition.

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

Any changes should focus on simplification and reducing taxes.

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

Many if not all the problems we blame on marijuana are realistically consequences of its being illegal. Any time something is banned, or even excessively taxed or regulated, black markets will thrive. Legalize it.

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?

I am profoundly skeptical of the need for emergency powers. Such powers need to stay within the bounds of the Bill of Rights… else any emergency will likely be dragged out as long as possible. Reduce emergency powers drastically, allow no power that suspends rights of the people.

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

Repeal it. In general, I am pro-choice up to the point of there being consistent brain activity – around 24 weeks. After that, only in emergencies.

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?

At the very least, qualified immunity needs to be reformed, likely repealed. Corrupt officials should not be shielded from consequences.

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 do not support throwing more money at these programs. While these services may have respectable intent, we’re spending more money than we actually have… which will in turn become future generations’ problems.

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?

I support opening the primaries to unaffiliated voters.

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?

In general terms, yes and yes.

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?

Quite simply, make it easy to do business here. Streamline regulations, make it inexpensive, step out of the way, and emphasize vocational/trade schools as much as we do university degree programs. Let businesses handle the rest.

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?

I am undecided on fracking, as I’ve seen good arguments made by both sides. I want to look more closely at the hard science. As for renewable energy mandates, no. Such mandates can inhibit meaningful progress.

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

Legal reform is necessary – stop prosecuting victimless crimes (e.g. marijuana possession). Instead, focus on violent and property crimes, and stop allowing them to repeatedly slip through the cracks.

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 transparency. I do not see reasons such video should be withheld, aside from request of a victim (e.g. sexual assault)

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?

In general, businesses know what they need. Laws and regulations do need to be streamlined for less paperwork and administrative as well as compliance costs. Also, make it easy and affordable for businesses to hire people off the street and train them up (think minimum wages/certifications).

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.

Several years ago, an accidental – or negligent – discharge of a firearm. No one was injured. The case was dismissed after I served community service hours.

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