Q&A: House District 36 Candidate Brandi Polanco

  • NAME: Brandi Polanco
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Educator
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: None
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor’s of Science in education, New Mexico State University; Master’s of Science in Leadership, Concordia University at Portland; Master’s of Education in administration, Concordia University at Nebraska.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.brandipolanco4nmhouse.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?

We must diversify our economy. Too often we rely on oil and gas and, while that is an important part of our economy, a stronger job market will help us weather these types of downturns in the future.

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?

New Mexico has drastically increased spending on education over the last several years yet outcomes remain the same. We need more accountability on the districts with higher at-risk students to ensure those kids are getting the education they deserve. We must also provide more educational options for families that wish to choose alternative learning models.

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

We need to close the existing loopholes and lower the rate for everyone.

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

I strongly support the medical cannabis program and think we need to further study the effects of recreational legalization.

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?

Yes, these decisions should not be made by one person. The Legislature must be involved in decisions that affect our local communities.

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

No, that law provides conscientious objector protections for physicians who do not want to participate in abortions.

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. Crime continues to be a problem in New Mexico. Eliminating qualified immunity will only make it harder to maintain a professional law enforcement work force in New Mexico.

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 early childhood programs, but believe that using the LGPF for this purpose will jeopardize a strong and consistent source of revenue for our K-12 system. We can continue to increase funding for early childhood programs through our normal budgeting process and protect K-12 funding at the same time.

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?

More and more people are opting to not register with a major party. That decision should not disqualify them from participating in our elections.

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?

There should be zero secrecy with how state dollars are spent. Any merit-based process should include input from local legislators.

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?

Tax reform: Lower the base and make our tax system fair for any person wishing to open a 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?

Banning fracking would devastate our economy. We can pursue renewable energy while also maintaining the industry that provides billions to our budget and thousands of high paying jobs across the state.

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

We must end our “catch-and-release” system. If that means we amend the bail reform amendment, then that is what we should do. New Mexico is too lenient on violent criminals.

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 inspection of public records and police video should be included. However, I would like to see protections for individual privacy, if possible.

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?

Businesses have trouble expanding in New Mexico because of the uncertainty in the tax code. This makes it hard to compete with our neighboring states. I would like to see regulatory reform along with a fair tax code to reassure local businesses and to encourage existing businesses to relocate.

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?

Yes, my husband and I had a lien, it has been paid in full and satisfied.

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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