Q&A: House District 69 Candidate Harry Garcia

  • NAME: Harry Garcia
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Grants
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Owned a business for 40 years
  • EDUCATION: 12th grade
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: (no response)

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?

We are bound by the constitution to have a balanced budget. We must look at minimal cuts to education and health given the impact of the virus but be courageous to look at generating additional resources given that oil and gas is struggling.

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 executive, Public Education Department, the Legislature and the stakeholders must work together to develop a plan for meeting our obligations. The executive and PED have not developed such a plan. Statistics don’t lie.

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

We have to take a serious look at the gross receipts tax code to act prudently as we propose any changes we see necessary. We have to look and put all options on the table.

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

We have to look and put all options on the table.

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 the powers and the checks and balances we need during a pandemic are in place provided the executive and the Legislature work hand-in-hand.

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

I will be in favor of repealing that law.

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 one should be immune from consequences acting inconsistent with the laws in place.

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?

Research has proven the impact of investment in early childhood and what it yields for our children. Yes, I support a constitutional amendment to draw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund, only on interest but we should not withdraw from the principal.

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 support election laws as they are. If we can improve to provide everyone an opportunity to fully participate, I am open to be convinced.

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?

I am open to improving and strengthening the process to fund capital outlay. I do not feel it is necessary to disclose which projects a legislator funds, although mine has always been disclosed.

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?

There is no question that we have to diversify our economic base. We have to do a comprehensive analysis and develop a short- and long-term plan on economic diversification.

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 not support a moratorium on fracking, at this time because oil and gas provides about half of our funding for our educational system.

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

We have to rethink the framework of public safety and not just invest more money. We have to look at the root causes of increasing crime and address as well.

Do you support or oppose the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by from the public?

I believe the right in the public to inspect footage and for full transparency. I do not believe any footage should be withheld.

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?

The Legislature should work with the business community to identify what those advantages or disadvantages are and determine what changes make sense to create a level playing field.

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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