Q&A: House District 46 Candidate Andrea Romero

  • NAME: Andrea Romero
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur, law student
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Years of community and economic development, and startups work.
  • EDUCATION: Santa Fe High School, Stanford University, University of New Mexico School of Law (currently enrolled)
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: andrearomero.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?

Strong economic diversity is more critical than ever. We must prioritize investing in New Mexico. Investment means the state prioritizing and incentivizing development in clean energy, outdoor recreation, cannabis, technology, and like industries that fit the cultural and environmental standards of our communities.

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 Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit brought to light the systemic racism in our education system where students are not receiving the education promised them by our state constitution. We must start by addressing necessary systemic changes that need to take place and back it up with substantial investment in those changes.

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

The gross receipts tax code has been a burden on small businesses for far too long. The burden on the businesses to report and pay is far too complicated and cumbersome, we must do better in order to grow business and our tax base.

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

I support safe and responsible legalization that prioritizes homegrown opportunities and protections for New Mexican business ownership, growth, and protections for farmers and workers.

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?

I believe we should always check and balance the emergency powers given to our governor. It is the Legislature’s job to do just that. I believe there should be more clarity and transparency on the distribution of emergency funds from federal sources, including how data collection mechanisms are set up.

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

I absolutely support repealing the 1969 state law that criminalizes abortion. Women should have sovereignty over their own bodies. Health care decisions should be left up to women, their families, and medical doctors.

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?

I would support the review of qualified immunity laws for those who cross the line and violate constitutional standards. We should not allow unreasonable force to be applied in a policing situation, violating the Constitution and making our communities less safe.

In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and childcare 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 absolutely support a constitutional amendment to withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to invest in New Mexico’s children. An investment in early childhood services is a down payment on the future of New Mexico.

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?

If we want eligible voters to participate more readily, we have to create more opportunities for participation. Though there are challenges with open primaries, I believe all eligible voters should have the opportunity to vote in every election.

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?

All taxpayer expended funds should be made transparent. New Mexicans should know where their tax dollars are going. I have fully disclosed all capital outlay investments made from our district. And, yes, I support a merit-based evaluation system that determines how the state spends capital outlay funding.

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?

Now is the time to invest in New Mexico. Investment means the creation of a state public bank where we can reinvest into homegrown businesses and the dividends we reap can continue as a reinvestment into new businesses. Additionally, we should prioritize development in clean energy technology, and similar 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?

Our community has been clear that the way fracking is done in New Mexico today is dangerous and harmful to the environment. Climate change should be part of the calculus of any energy or environmental impact decision made in the state, and every incentive to address climate change should be on the table.

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

Violent crime makes up 4-5% of police responses. Our officers should be well equipped for the worst, but we have to do more to safely manage nonviolent situations. To make lasting progress, let’s focus on addressing the root causes of crime. Investing in education, health, and welfare programs provides dividends.

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 public’s right to inspect footage with some exceptions. Thinking about the victims of crime, footage a victim does not want to share with the public should be top priority for privacy considerations. But accessing recordings that improve transparency may be the difference between justice and injustice.

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?

Studying the advantages and disadvantages of Arizona and Texas laws are an important first step. New Mexico is not Texas or Arizona, and for good reason! Knowing what, how, and why businesses have been successful in New Mexico should be replicated and modeled for continued growth opportunities throughout the state.

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?

No

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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