Q&A: House District 47 Candidate Brian Egolf

  • NAME: Brian Egolf
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Attorney
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I am currently serving my sixth term in the state House. I have fought for equal pay for equal work for the women of New Mexico, taken on government corruption with the creation of our independent ethics commission, and passed legislation that has made New Mexico a national leader on climate change and renewable energy. As a private practice attorney, I successfully fought in court for a same-sex couple denied a marriage license. That case helped turn the tide toward marriage equality in New Mexico and just a few months later, the state’s Supreme Court recognizing same-sex marriage, making New Mexico the 17th state to do so. I’m also a father of two daughters, which guides all of my work as a legislator.
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service; University of New Mexico Law School, J.D.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: BrianEgolf.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?

I will continue prioritizing investments in Democrats’ top priorities: education, healthcare, and public safety while setting aside responsible reserves. Further eliminating waste in government will also help us reach our budget goals. We must also continue our work to diversify our economy and make it the envy of the Nation.

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?

In 2019 we launched our Education Moonshot: the largest increase in education funding in NM history, targeted to classroom education, not bureaucracy. More remains to be done: fixing impact aid for equity in funding for Native students, expanding opportunities for special education students, and real multicultural education in every school.

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

Current budget constraints make tax reform especially challenging, but GRT simplification should be achievable. Closing loopholes and exemptions makes lowering the tax rate possible. As we near the next Legislative Session, I will continue to work to find a reform plan that works for New Mexicans and our small businesses.

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

I support legalizing, taxing, and regulating recreational cannabis with appropriate safeguards for our youth and public 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?

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s work has saved many lives during this pandemic and has set the stage for a robust economic recovery. I look forward to continuing discussions with the Administration regarding necessary updates to emergency powers laws and the role of the Legislature during emergencies of such length and magnitude.

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

The time is long past to repeal the antiquated law criminalizing women’s health care decisions. I am a fierce defender of women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions, and I look forward to the day when editorial boards ask questions about a man’s right to make his own healthcare decisions.

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?

Currently, public officials, including police officers, may be sued individually; this question’s premise is flawed. I support policy to prevent government agents from using so-called “qualified immunity” as a shield against valid claims of civil rights violations and deprivations of our Constitutional rights.

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 strongly support using the LGPF to invest in our children’s future. It is the best way to achieve our goals of giving every family opportunities for world-class education. Deploying the Fund responsibly will strengthen the foundation of our state and create opportunities that will last for generations.

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?

I believe that New Mexico’s voters should be given ample opportunities to participate in primary elections, including the opportunity to affiliate with a political party up to Primary Election Day to participate in any Party’s nomination 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?

Allowing regionalization and prioritization of capital outlay funding makes sense to ensure maximum efficacy of these public dollars. I have long supported making capital outlay allocations public.

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?

I will continue to support investments in film, biotech, aerospace, value-added agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and wind and solar energy. Partnerships between higher education and these promising industries will expand our workforce. Diversification is critical to our economic prosperity.

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?

A moratorium on fracking won’t address climate change as quickly as the crisis demands. I am developing a climate change plan that includes energy efficiency, carbon-free electricity, electric vehicles, and community solar. NM is a leader in addressing climate change — and we need to look at every sector.

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

Too many families feel unsafe in their communities, which must change. We must build on local governments’ efforts to restructure law enforcement agencies. Also, behavioral health services are important to stop the cycle of crime at every stage — from a 911 call, to the courts, to the state penitentiary.

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 working with civil rights advocates and law enforcement agencies to determine what exceptions should be made for public inspection of body-worn camera footage. Those exceptions may include undercover work, or matters involving crime victims or children.

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?

On my statewide jobs listening tour, I ask for examples of regulations that are burdensome to business or community. I am happy to make government work better for the people and businesses that depend on it. But education and public safety are the key to improving NM’s economic competitiveness.

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?

Yes. I made an error drafting a check to pay a tax bill owed to the IRS. Unfortunately, the error was not known until a lien was filed, due to a move and changed address. The balance was paid immediately upon notice of the lien, and no tax is owed.

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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