Q&A: House District 31 Candidate William R. Rehm

  • NAME: William R. Rehm
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: New Mexico state representative since 2006, private investigator, traffic crash reconstructionist, and police course instructor- 1994 to present; retired captain Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department 2000
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: FBI National Academy graduate – December 1995; Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department awarded – the Julian Narvaez Memorial Award and “Sheriff Officer of the Quarter”; The Albuquerque Police Department awarded a “Metal of Meritorious Service”; New Mexico House of Representative since 2006, current certified law enforcement instructor; current reserve police officer (volunteer) Bern Co Sheriff Dept., & NM Mounted Patrol; past AYSO Soccer Board member – AYSO coach and coach instructor – AYSO referee and referee instructor; past criminal justice instructor TVI (CNM)
  • EDUCATION: FBI National Academy Graduate 1995; University of Albuquerque – Bachelors 1975; Highland High School – 1968
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: BillRehm.us

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?

State government spending was increased 20% in the last two years. Now, state agencies must trim their budgets substantially, our state’s economy must be fully reopened, and people need to get back to work. The budget must be balanced without increasing taxes.

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?

Local school boards must be given more authority to decide what is best for our children’s education. A top-down approach mandated from Santa Fe has not worked, so let’s give local communities a greater say in how taxpayers’ dollars are spent to improve K-12 education.

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

New Mexico tax law is truly Swiss cheese. We must end double/triple taxation on families and businesses and simplify the tax code to encourage job creation for all New Mexicans. Those with generous tax exemptions and deductions oppose needed tax reform, but reform of the gross receipts tax is long overdue.

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

Oppose. New Mexico has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the country, and there is no rationale for legalizing another form of substance abuse. Legalization will increase drugged driving, truancy, emergency room visits, and trafficking marijuana – look at Colorado. The increase in revenue is not worth the many unintended consequences.

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?

Laws affecting public health emergencies must be changed to give the Legislature more oversight authority. Current laws never intended to allow the governor the power for an extended closure of our community and economy. Future pandemics must be dealt with by the Legislature and governor working together.

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

Oppose. By repealing this 1969 law, we will lose the conscious clause for doctors who for whatever reason won’t do abortions must now do abortions. Additionally casting in stone late term abortions. This includes abortion at the time of birth (9 months).

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. As a former police officer, I understand the daily challenges law enforcement officers face in upholding the law and keeping our communities safe. Eliminating “qualified immunity” will make it harder for all public servants to do their jobs, and make it more difficult to retain and recruit them.

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! This will deplete the corpus of the fund and result in distributing less to schools in the future. Taking money from the LGPF for early childhood programs is not the answer. We tried this approach in 2003 to improve K-12 education, yet NM is still ranked 51st in education.

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. So-called open primaries will adversely impact both political parties by permitting non-party voters to choose that party’s best candidates, and it could lead to abuses by manipulating the voting process while increasing the candidate’s primary cost. If people want to vote in primaries, declare a party affiliation.

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?

Legislators must be able to determine where limited capital outlay dollars are spent. If it’s a “merit based” process, then the governor’s staff will determine which projects are funded and the Legislature loses its ability to select priority projects for their constituents. Local legislators know their communities’ best.

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?

The problem with the boom and bust cycles of NM revenues is the Legislature’s inability to stop spending during the boom years. During the recent boom period, the Legislature, with the support of Governor Lujan Grisham, increased spending by $4 billion. Saving money during the boom years should be required.

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 fracking moratorium. Eliminating fracking is economically and fiscally disastrous for NM as it would destroy half of our revenue and thousands of jobs for hard-working New Mexicans while reducing funding to our schools and other vital services. NM has mandated renewable energy to address climate change.

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

Stop the catch and release. Amend 3-strikes legislation to give life sentence to criminals who injured or kill three different times. We must increase mental health reporting to NICS– preventing gun purchase. Last session I passed legislation increasing the penalty– felons possessing firearms– using a firearm when committing a 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?

Early release of videos could jeopardize investigations and prosecutions. It could also result in witnesses/offenders changing their stories based on their video observation. Witnesses/offenders try to fill in blanks of what they did or didn’t see and premature release of videos could make law enforcement’s job more difficult.

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?

Develop a business friendly environment through reform of the gross receipts tax system, improve our schools to create a better trained workforce, and reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations that hinder investment and job creation. Being fiscally prudent with economic incentives to encourage businesses to locate in NM is also necessary.

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?

When I learned my prior business partner caused a $147.00 state business tax lien (1997). The lien was immediately paid (1997) and that person was dismissed from my company.

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. The last speeding citation I received was in the early 1980’s which I paid.

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