Q&A: House District 39 Candidate Rodolpho ‘Rudy’ Martinez
- NAME: Rodolpho S. Martinez
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Retired
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Grant County
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 16 years local government 12 years legislative service
- EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science Western New Mexico University
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: rudymartineznm.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 significant downturn in revenues is forcing the legislature to make difficult budget cuts and shift infrastructure investments to fund basic services. I will fight to protect funding for programs and agencies that most directly impact our families such as public education, early childhood, health, and human services.
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 must provide the necessary funding for students who require assistance in linguistic and cultural needs as identified in the Yazzie/Martinez ruling. We must meet our constitutional obligation to adequately fund education for all New Mexico’s students. That’s why I signed a letter opposing a motion to drop this case.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code? During this pandemic period, it would be a significant challenge to propose changes to the gross receipts tax code.
While I served on the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Interim Committee, a plan was developed to start reviewing our lengthy and overly-complex tax code policies and remove those that are not being used effectively or are not demonstrating a net benefit to our economy.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
Yes. I support careful legalization and regulation. It’s an economic opportunity that many states in our region are pursuing and we should not be left behind. We need careful protections to ensure it is not used by minors or while operating a motor vehicle.
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?
Without a year-round legislature, executive emergency powers during a crisis are needed, but with certain checks and balances. I support a process that fosters collaborative decision making and execution of emergency powers, including additional legislative oversight during the interim between sessions.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I firmly believe in the sanctity of life. I believe a woman should have the opportunity to make her own choices in life. It is not my role as a legislator to interfere in personal health care decisions, it’s between an individual and medical professionals.
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?
The current law already allows individuals to sue anyone, but qualified immunity is generally used as a defense. Everyone should be held accountable for violations of state law and abuses of their power, but we need to tread very carefully in making any changes to current 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?
Yes. I voted in support of a constitutional amendment to provide additional funding for early childhood services. This is a high-impact investment that would significantly improve the lives of children and families today, and make a positive impact in the long term.
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?
New Mexicans should not be prevented from voting – especially since primary elections are funded by taxpayer dollars. That’s why I previously sponsored one of the bills that would allow for open primaries, enabling independent and unaffiliated voters to be better heard in our election 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?
I would support an evaluation system for capital outlay funding; however, I will fight to ensure that our rural and frontier communities are treated fairly in any capital outlay allocation process. Rural communities suffer from critical infrastructure gaps, and desperately need these investments.
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?
To reduce reliance on boom-and-bust extraction, we need to focus on stable industries where we already have a competitive advantage and that show promise for additional growth, e.g. value-added agriculture, renewable energy, and outdoor recreation. And we can’t overlook the basics — a prepared and educated workforce will attract other industries.
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?
The energy industry contributes the lion’s share of funding for our schools. I do not support a moratorium until we have sufficiently developed other sources of revenue. In many cases, renewable energy is less expensive than fossil fuels, and will create jobs across New Mexico – so I support stronger mandates.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
The legislature should invest adequate funding for public safety. I strongly support the expansion of community policing, training, accountability and community partnerships. Behavioral health experts should be part of a team approach and utilized when warranted. Investing in community programs to assist with public safety measures should also be considered.
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?
The public should have the right to inspect footage. A few exceptions should be considered in circumstances that jeopardize the safety of jurors or the ability for a fair trial. Steps should also be taken to protect the privacy of innocent bystanders and minors.
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?
We should create a commission which will review regulations and submit recommendations to the various agencies. These concerns should be heard and appropriate reforms considered. I am also focused on creating robust vocational training programs. I believe that a skilled workforce is a priority for attracting industry.
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?
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.