Q&A: House District 65 Candidate Phillip D. Salazar

  • NAME: Phillip D. Salazar
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Communications supervisor/assistant incident commander
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: School board member
  • EDUCATION: High-school diploma
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: electphillipsalazar.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 Legislature needs to reevaluate the budget and make necessary changes to ensure the budget is balanced and operable. People around our state are struggling and we must ensure that every measure is taken to not burden them in balancing the budget.

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?

Education is important. We need to really strengthen our education system and see why we are failing and immediately take action to improve it.

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

Why is there such a fluctuation in the GRT? It needs to be a low tax for the people. GRT must be reformed.

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

Legalization of marijuana has been a topic for several years now. I would support legalizing and taxing as it would close the gap in the budget. That being said the legislation to legalize should be measured and balanced, and bills presented so far have not been.

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 a task force should be created to assist with emergencies. Government works when checks and balances are present. The governor should not have unilateral authority, especially when spending taxpayer funds. The Legislature is elected to represent their communities and should be involved in decision making.

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

Abortion should not be allowed. Only in emergencies.

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?

Police officers and public officials should not be allowed to be sued individually, unless malicious crimes have taken place by the individual

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 oppose tapping the LGPF. Early childhood education is important. I would support the increase in funding for this service through other funding sources. The sooner our children start learning the better educated they can become.

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?

Voting is a constitutional right. Everybody has a voice. Everyone should be able to choose what candidate they support.

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?

Capital outlay funding should be available to assist all New Mexicans with projects. Legislators should disclose what projects they have funded.

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?

New Mexico needs to take a closer look at all revenue resources in the state and see how we can use those resources to improve the economy. We must attract new businesses to our state – this can be accomplished by reforming GRT and taking a serious look at burdensome regulations.

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?

New Mexico should take a look into all options for our energy industry. We must find a good middle ground so that our economy is stable while also diversifying the industry.

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

Toughen crime laws.

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?

Camera footage from law enforcement cameras should be allowed to be inspected by the public. Many times, officers are ridiculed for actions they took and a camera does not lie and shows the actual scene. However, privacy protections must be maintained for victims of abuse.

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?

New Mexico needs to expand its economy to compete with our neighboring states. It’s rather simple. Analyze our economy, evaluate, and accommodate. Additionally, tax reform will signal to businesses that we are serious about boosting our economy.

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.


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