Q&A: House District 47 Candidate Raye G. Byford

  • NAME: Raye G. Byford
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Retired law enforcement/still performing security work
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: No political; 28 years law enforcement
  • EDUCATION: High school; college
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook: @SFforRaye

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?

Stop all unnecessary spending across the board. Reverse large budget items from previous legislative session. Suspend certain taxes, i.e. gross receipts, state income tax, for a period of time. Allow New Mexicans to have more and allow them to spend and reinvest to the state.

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?

Provide a more open access for other education formats instead of always utilizing the same methods. Bring back vocational education choices.

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

Eliminate it completely. It’s an arcane taxation.

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

Oppose.

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 changes should reduce powers a governor has moving forward.

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

Oppose.

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?

Oppose.

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?

Oppose. Even with the increased funding New Mexico remains at or near the bottom of education.

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?

Mandatory voter ID. No same-day registration. I would support a change in primary elections provided voter IDs are mandatory.

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? Who designs the evaluation system?

I agree to the disclosure.

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?

Ease the lease process for oil and gas industry. New Mexico can invest in other areas of renewable energy without crippling the oil industry.

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?

Oppose.

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

Provide statutory requirements that require the judicial system to enforce laws already existing by statute having mandatory sentencing. Judges are given too much leeway to greatly reduce sentencing.

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?

Oppose. Police officers are protected under the Officers’ Bill of Rights and federal case law.

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?

Provide tax breaks that would entice business/industry to New Mexico. End gross receipts taxes that are unfair especially to small business.

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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