Q&A: House District 37 Candidate Joanne J. Ferrary
- NAME: Joanne J. Ferrary
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Retired
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Nearly four years as an incumbent state representative; served on the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission; two years as an activist for CAFé; and nearly seven years as program director for Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Bureau.
- EDUCATION: BA and MBA, NMSU 1990
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Joanne4NM.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?
The Legislature should reform our tax base and remove previous administration’s tax cuts. Legalizing and taxing cannabis sales would bring in much needed revenue. Taking steps to use 1% of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to support Early Childhood Education will free up funds to be used for schools.
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?
The Early Childhood Education Department is a good start for helping children from cradle to career. Brain development is critical in the early years and whatever we can do to support parents and caregivers to facilitate that growth period is critical for the rest of the child’s learning career.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
I believe we can simplify our tax code while never including regressive taxes on purchases such as food. We should look at how to simplify the tax structure in a bipartisan manner in order to benefit all New Mexicans.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
Yes, I support legalizing and regulating cannabis sales. It is important to use the taxes collected to support the regulation, enforcement, underage use prevention programs which are necessary for community health and safety.
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?
The Governor’s Emergency Powers should be expanded to be able to meet the challenges facing our state. The current $75,000 limit is not high enough as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and should be a much higher level.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I oppose the criminalization of abortion and support the repeal of this antiquated statute. Seventy-eight percent of people believe that despite their own beliefs, they trust women to make their own decisions about their own body, with the advice of her doctor, without government interference.
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?
This tends to be a federal issue. Officers or public officials need to have protections from circumstances that are inherent to their work, however police should not be immune from responsibility for their actions if outside the law.
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 a constitutional amendment to withdraw more funding from the Land Grant Permanent Fund every year I’ve been in office. This funding is critical for early learning and the growth for our children. It’s a game changer for the investment in education K-12 to have better outcomes.
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?
We should adopt a vote-by-mail system for all voters, so we are more inclusive of all circumstances for those who are least able to vote in person. Primary voting should be open to those not affiliated with a major political party so they have a voice in the process.
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?
We should reform our taxing priorities, legalize marijuana and eliminate inefficient tax credits in order to stabilize and balance the income revenue needed for our state.
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?
We need to continue to invest in a stronger tax base, which would include alternative energy and agriculture, while encouraging small businesses to succeed. Most importantly, legalized marijuana could cover nearly all of the projected losses we are looking at in FY ’21.
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?
Yes, I agree there should be a moratorium on fracking. There are many wells that have been abandoned or stranded unnecessarily. We need to encourage clean energy development and support programs for community solar and further develop alternative energy.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
We need to invest in education from cradle to career and invest in data-driven techniques that increase training to reorganize law enforcement so it doesn’t have to deal with critical situations that systemically could have been prevented or handled outside an enforcement mode.
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?
Public viewing of police camera footage could impede prosecution of a case. I believe an independent body, such as a Police Review Board, should be the first line of what should be released to the public and it is important that community representatives be part of those boards.
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?
In order to attract businesses to move to our state, we need to take a long-term approach that invests in children’s well-being, support for families, and key resources such as expanded health care and rural broadband. The healthier our workforce is, the better off businesses will be.
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 drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.