Q&A: U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Ronchetti
- NAME: Mark Ronchetti
- POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
- OCCUPATION: Former Chief Meteorologist on KRQE
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former Chief Meteorologist on KRQE
- EDUCATION: Bachelor in Communications from Washington State, American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval from Mississippi St.
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: markronchetti.com
What is your opinion of justice in policing legislation introduced in Congress recently after protests following George Floyd’s death?
I support common-sense reforms and we have to weed out bad apples. I believe most police officers are good people and I strongly oppose defunding the police. Additionally, our Albuquerque police officers have already adopted many reforms and I am proud to be endorsed by the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.
What is your opinion of the use of federal law enforcement officers in operations such as Operation Legend in which additional officers were sent to Albuquerque?
We need federal law enforcement help to keep our streets safe. Our local government and leadership have abdicated the responsibility and let violent crime skyrocket. We need to support our police department and bring in federal help to keep our streets safe.
What is your opinion of the coronavirus response packages passed by Congress and signed by President Trump? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Providing forgivable loans to small businesses was the right approach; they have been a lifeline for small businesses and workers. For some sectors, a second round of help is needed. Congress in general tried to load up COVID relief bills with all sorts of partisan, unrelated issues — that was disappointing.
What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
Our hardest-hit sectors and small businesses (such as tourism/hospitality) should receive a second round of targeted economic stimulus. Additionally, we need to move manufacturing and production of everything from health care technologies and prescription drugs to rare-earth minerals back to the U.S. and New Mexico from China and elsewhere.
What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
While the atmosphere is warming and there are steps we can take to protect our environment, we can’t restrict our economy when countries like China and India continue unrestricted pollution. I oppose the Green New Deal, which includes provisions like guaranteed salaries for those who choose not to work.
What is your opinion on energy initiatives that have been introduced both on the federal and state level such as the Green New Deal and the New Mexico Energy Transition Act?
I strongly oppose the GND — it’s not serious legislation. With $93-trillion price-tag, it will crush our economy. The purpose of the GND isn’t about the environment, it’s a complete restructuring of our economy that guarantees income for those who choose not to work and a government-takeover of our health care system.
Fracking bans have been introduced in Congress by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren… Where do you stand on the issue?
I strongly oppose a ban on fracking. It would destroy our state budget, lead to the slashing of public-school funding, and threaten national security. Fracking has happened safely for 60 years in this country. Giving up energy independence is a terrible environmental and national security decision.
What is your position on the leasing of federal land for oil, gas and mineral development? Do you agree with the removal of energy development in a 10-mile radius around Chaco archaeological sites? Are there other areas of the state that should be considered for similar treatment?
Energy independence saves the average family $2,500 a year in energy costs. As 50% of our oil and gas comes from public lands, we must continue to use it. We should work with those concerned about energy production around cultural sites to find a solution that provides for proper protection.
What are the most important actions Congress should take regarding people now living illegally in the U.S.? What about for those who want to come in?
I oppose amnesty because it incentivizes even more illegal immigration. Decriminalizing border crossing and dangling free health care encourages well-meaning families to put their families at risk by illegally entering the country. Allow them to apply in their home country and when legally approved move to the US.
Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose to increase security?
Our borders are not secure. We need a barrier and more border patrol officers. Abolishing ICE is a terrible idea. New Mexico is a drug superhighway into the US, which brings crime — exacerbated by sanctuary city policies. A strong nation should have strong borders to keep its people safe.
Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?
I support the second amendment and oppose these bans and gun confiscation. I support background checks for gun purchases and enhancing penalties for criminals who commit crimes with guns. However, law-abiding citizens who responsibly handle their firearms don’t need the government to come knocking on their door.
Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
First, we should be proud of our national labs and military bases and increase funding to them. In other areas, we need to re-shore manufacturing of health care technologies and pharmaceuticals to NM and expand tourism and the promotion of our state as a cultural, outdoor, and high-tech destination.
Congress passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Are there any other trade initiatives you’d like to see Congress pass if you’re elected?
We need to continuously evaluate our trade relationship with China. COVID-19 has made it clear we cannot continue to export industry to China at the expense of American jobs and national security. We should be continuously reviewing our agreements with other countries to confirm we are putting American workers first.
Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
I oppose a single payer government-run health care system. It would drive up costs, limit New Mexicans’ ability to choose their doctor, and put an end to their employer-based health insurance plans. The price tag of such policy is so high it would mean major tax increases on businesses and families.
Do you favor or oppose limits on late-term abortion, and do you believe tax dollars should or should not be used to fund abortions?
I strongly oppose late-term abortions, and the fact my opponent support abortion up to the point of birth is horrifying. I do not believe federal funds should be used to fund abortion. I support the Hyde Amendment which is currently the law of the land.
What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
Federal funds to help those struggling with opioid addiction have helped address the issue in the past few years. We must cut off illegal international and domestic supply chains. Much of that can be done by increasing checks at points of entry and securing the border away from major checkpoints.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
I will fight for the state of New Mexico. Too often political fights in Washington take center stage and it’s the people at home that get left behind. I want to make sure that all our children can grow up in a country where chasing the American Dream is possible.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunk driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.