Q&A: House District 55 Candidate Rick Little
- NAME: Rick Little
- POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
- OCCUPATION: Construction – structural mover
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Chaparral
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Business owner 40 years, GB98, three-term state representative, 45 year community volunteer, baseball coach 20 years, Chaparral Community Development Association 30 years.
- EDUCATION: UTEP, EPCC and Howard Payne University
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: RickLittleForRep.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?
Science and the medical field tells us it is time to put New Mexico back to work safely so people can feed and support their families. Downsize our bloated government and support our oil and gas industry which underpins one-third of our general fund and supports approximately one-third of the jobs in 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?
New Mexico spends more per student than every state around our border. It is not the money. Our system of education needs to be changed from trying to send all children to college (only roughly 35% go and many drop out in the first year) to also encouraging career technical education and life skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
We should eliminate tax pyramiding which is what the gross receipts tax is and go to a sales tax like most other states so people can see how much tax they are really paying.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support medical marijuana, but with all the negative issues with law enforcement, crime, DWI, mental health, addiction, rehab centers and no long-term medical research, I do not support legalized recreational marijuana.
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 power should be reduced so that the decisions will encompass common sense, real science and medical protocol rather than be arbitrary and capricious. All decisions should have to go through the Legislature and not be tyrannical.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
Science tells us that a baby in the mother’s womb is human, so I am pro-life. Without the inalienable right to life you have no liberty or pursuit of happiness.
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?
No, we need to deal with the few bad apples. Our law enforcement needs the protection, we can not get enough police officers as it is.
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?
The Land Grant Permanent Fund monies go to education and are mainly oil and gas revenues. If we deplete the principal, we will have less money for education and if we run out of these resources there will be no funds for 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?
Voter picture identification would help all voters know that their vote counted and would reduce fraud.
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?
A merit-based system that rotated around the state would be better than each legislator using smaller amounts of capital outlay for pet projects and reelection purposes. Every legislator should disclose the projects they fund to encourage transparency.
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?
First, create a rainy day fund to put money away to compensate for boom and bust cycles. We had over a billion dollars extra in 2019 and we wasted it. Second, fix our tax code to make it more attractive for business and jobs. Third, stop subsidizing business that doesn’t need to be subsidized.
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?
I would oppose a moratorium on fracking and would not impose additional renewable mandates for unreliable energy sources that have their own environmental issues and must be supported by fossil fuel anyway.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
This is a nation of laws. The Legislature makes the laws and should see that they are funded and enforced. Judges need to keep criminals off the streets.
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?
Police officers should have the due process of the law just like everyone.
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?
Laws and regulations need to be competitive with other states as much as possible. Our taxation system, having gross receipts tax, state income, and certain business taxes, is too complex and burdensome. Also we should eliminate unnecessary red tape on business.
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.
I have had a few traffic tickets over 48 years of driving.