Q&A: House District 33 Candidate Beth Miller

  • NAME: Beth Miller
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Occupation: Graphic Design and Entrepreneur
  • City of Residence: Las Cruces
  • Relevant Experience: Administrative assistant (retired)
  • Education: Studied social psychology at NMSU
  • Campaign website: BethForNewMexico.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?

Increased spending has grown under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s general fund budget by more than 20% over the last two years from $6.3 billion to $7.6 billion. There are areas to find savings and ensure that our reserves are stabilized for sound fiscal responsibility and prevent future budget crisis.

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 should look at providing additional opportunities for underserved families to place their children in the school they want. School choice and competition promotes quality education. When money follows the student, parents are able to send their children to a school of their choice (i.e. public, private or charter schools).

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

The current GRT tax code is antiquated, being the worst in the region. The entire system should be overhauled.

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

Any recreational legalization must resolve concerns about testing and the enforcement of laws while driving under the influence of cannabis.

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 clear that our emergency powers statute does not take into account the checks and balances needed in state government. The governor should not have as much authority to unilaterally issues orders and mandates or emergency spending without consent or advice from the Legislature.

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

I am pro-life and value all life, and I oppose repealing New Mexico law 40A-5-3(1969).

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?

Any proposed law must go before the legislative body and must be subject to a fair and civil bipartisan discussion.

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 the concept of early childhood intervention educational programs. A good start and foundation at a young age will set our children up for success. I do not support a constitutional amendment to tap into the LGPF. Funding needs to come out of the baseline budget.

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?

The right to vote is every U.S. citizen’s Constitutional right. I believe that political organizations (parties) should have the right to put forward candidates of like mind as their standard bearers. I also think that open primaries would open up some opportunity for mischief.

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 an open and transparent capital outlay process and disclosure of projects funded by legislators. The capital outlay system needs to be reformed.

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?

Doña Ana County should be a bigger player in New Mexico economic development. Our state has opportunities to be a leader in pharmaceuticals, and for hemp harvesting and agriculture technology. Additionally, reforming our tax code would be a first step in signaling that New Mexico is open for business.

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 would not support a moratorium on fracking. We should also look at ramping up the wind and solar industries in New Mexico. America needs American’s oil and gas and America needs our wind and solar industries for future power needs.

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

Our criminal justice system, the courts, prisons, and police need adequate funding along with access to mental health care/treatment facilities. Local law enforcement and State Police should work collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration, and FBI to curb our high crime rate.

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 use of body cameras, however, it infringes on privacy rights. The recent SB8 bill passed (which my opponent supported) allows every recording from every police interaction to become public knowledge, rendering access to private information regarding the victim.

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?

New Mexico is trailing other states because we lack a well-designed plan for systematic evaluation of tax incentives to attract businesses. A bipartisan effort must enact a complete common-sense plan and create a ‘Crescit Eundo’ (it grows as it goes) pro-business attitude for economic growth.

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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