Q&A: House District 7 Candidate Kelly Fajardo

  • NAME: Kelly Fajardo
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Small business owner
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Los Lunas
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current member of the New Mexico Legislature
  • EDUCATION: B.A. marketing
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: kellyfajardo.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?

We need to learn to live within our budget. Our current administration went on a spending spree and failed to govern within a reasonable budget. We will now be forced to make huge cuts.

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?

What the Legislature has failed to do is to create benchmarks for success. The legislative response was simply to add more money without creating a path for accountability or success. Adding money without a plan will not help students succeed. It is just a good PR stunt.

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

Complete overhaul. New Mexico is the only state that has our tax structure. We are last in education, low in high paying jobs and highest poverty rates. Our tax structure is hurting businesses and hurting employment opportunities.

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

I don’t support legalization for the sole purchase of sales and tax revenue.

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?

In the last special session, that governor tried to create additional powers that could have been created by legislation. There is a separation of powers that exist to maintain accountability and law and order. When one body tries to take more control than necessary, it’s a concern.

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

An attempt to repeal the language has been attempted by pro-life and pro-choice advocates many times over the years. The language itself is archaic and needs to be dealt with properly, without trying to make political points. I’m pro-life.

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?

I do not support abolishing qualified immunity.

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?

No.

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 open primaries.

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 should be determined by the legislator representing the district. A merit-based system may not understand the specific needs of an isolated or rural community. When considering changes, we need to ensure that we do not create a system where all the funds are targeted to benefit certain legislators.

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?

We need to have an all-encompassing approach when it comes to energy. In order to attract more diverse companies, we need to change our business mind set and make us more business friendly as a state.

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. “We end fracking today, we close schools tomorrow” — Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small

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

Hold criminals accountable and training for police officers.

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 body cams and the public’s right to view it.

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?

One of the biggest mistakes legislators do is present bills that harm or threaten business. These bills are eventually defeated, but it sends a message to companies looking to come here that we can’t be trusted.

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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