Q&A: 2nd Congressional District Candidate Steve Jones
- NAME: Steve Jones
- Political Party: Independent
- Occupation: Retired energy executive
- City of Residence: Ruidoso
- Relevant Experience: CPA, business consultant, public accounting, college instructor, TV producer
- EDUCATION: Bachelor and master’s degrees in accounting, University of Houston; over 1,000 hours continuing education
- Campaign Website: stevejonesindependentcongress.com
What is your opinion of justice in policing legislation introduced in Congress recently after protests following George Floyd’s death?
It is entirely appropriate for Congress to address standards for policing across all jurisdictions and to make available quality federal training programs. The FBI should be charged with data base management for all licensed policemen.
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?
Federal officers from many different agencies have always operated throughout the United States. When local law enforcement is corrupt or incompetent, what is an acceptable response from state and/or federal officers. There must be accountability when cities like Albuquerque lead the nation in crime; year after year.
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?
Congress and the president were consumed by impeachment and trial efforts at a critical time. We need a one-year program: 1) $1,200 quarterly to all taxpayers. 2) matching of unemployment benefits with states. 3) monthly payment to states for ¼ of tax revenue lost.
What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
Optimize the USMCA (U.S.—Mexico—Canada Agreement) treaty to create businesses. Create a nationwide distribution of small business emergency offices to make loans and register for government contracts. Establish tax incentives for private/public infrastructure development. Empower the Department of Labor to establish technical and skilled labor programs with educational institutions and private enterprise.
What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
Climate change has existed since the dinosaur. Both political parties have failed to address man’s role in pollution and its effect on the climate. Congress should create a federal tax on retail level fossil fuel that increases every year. Congress should fund technology solutions to remediate the Earth’s atmosphere.
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?
Purely grandstanding when real solutions are needed. Hyper-partisan politics to rally political support when we should be unifying Americans to achieve practical solutions. New Mexico can least afford to take impractical action that destroys a key industry. There are many more solutions as partners with the industry.
Fracking bans have been introduced in Congress by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren… Where do you stand on the issue?
I have worked in countries over the globe to develop an in-country energy industry. Without such industry, they are a third-world agrarian society. With such industry, they can become industrialized and provide a higher per capita income for their citizens. I can’t support returning New Mexico to an agrarian society.
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?
Southern New Mexico has the lowest GDP per capita, per capita income and child welfare. New Mexico is losing citizens for jobs in other states. New Mexico has the lowest graduation rate and lowest academic achievement. The situation is critical and getting worse. Save the patient first!
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?
Congress and immigrants are complicit in their illegal status. The victims are the immigrants. A parallel can be drawn to slavery. Step one: a national minimum wage of $15 per hour for all workers in the U.S., legal or otherwise. Step two: a “union of immigrant labor” should be formed.
Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose to increase security?
This is a “red meat” issue for both parties and irrelevant to the solution. Manage those who immigrate here for economic reasons. There is a critical role for cross border workers for both countries. There are huge economic forces wanting to keep the status quo.
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?
The right to keep and bear arms, and freedom of the press are being abused! I find no clauses in the constitution to restrict either right. I don’t like guns but I respect the words and intent of the founders. So does the Supreme Court of the U.S.
Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
My area of expertise! Develop community based commercial co-ops, do strategic plan and small business development seminars targeting communities, identify international investors wishing to exchange investments for citizenship, incubators for startup companies, funding for universities to commercial publicly owned technology, increase the awareness of set-aside contracts. Many more!
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?
First, the USMCA is a great opportunity for New Mexico! We need to optimize it. We should not default to Florida, the close commercial ties that they have to South America. I spent years in business development there and believe New Mexico’s Hispanic culture creates trade opportunities.
Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
A “red meat” subject for the two major parties. The issue is not who pays the bill but why did costs double. Ultimately, the deteriorating health of Americans will collapse any payment system if costs of pharmaceuticals, doctors, hospitals, etc., are not managed. I oppose the government changing medicare.
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 am not “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” Neither need me to resolve the issue. Roe v Wade is the law of the land. I respect the law. When the law changes, I will not become radicalized. Can you prove when the soul enters the unborn? I might change my position.
What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
I guess the Libertarians have this one right. Prescription drug laws should be enforced. Doctors need to abide by their oath or suffer the consequences. Patients and their families have the prime responsibility. Too many addictions can wreck lives and exceed the government’s authority to protect.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
“Win at all cost” major parties have broken our political system just as Thomas Jefferson and other founders feared. I want to bridge the divide on the obvious areas where there is agreement to solve the many growing problems of New Mexico Congressional District 2. Enough hyper-partisanship!
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
No, as to me individually. However, I have been an owner in hundreds if not thousands of corporations and partnerships. The first five pages of my tax return for 2019 are on my website. Ownership in entities in 2019 are in pages available to the media but the public.
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
Yes, in the “Oil Bust” of 1986, I lost everything. Sadly, we could be living through and even greater economic calamity. Many will suffer my fate.
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, I have never been arrested, charged or convicted in any of the United States, or any of the countries in which I have worked, lived or visited.