Q&A: House District 8 Candidate Paul Kinzelman

  • NAME: Paul Kinzelman
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Computer engineer and pilot
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Advocating and working for progress for years
  • EDUCATION: BSEE Carnegie-Mellon University 1974
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: votepaulk.org

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?

I’d focus on waste. I’d reform the capital outlay program and delay any projects we can delay. The program should be reserved for critical infrastructure projects that would otherwise go unfunded. We should also continue providing support to small businesses and pursuing means to diversify our economy.

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?

Every student (including special education), no matter where they live, deserves a quality education, and that will take more resources than we are currently investing. This is why the court ruled that our education funding is unconstitutionally insufficient. See votepaulk.org/education.html

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

The GRT as it stands is too complex and burdensome on New Mexico businesses. It also provides for many exemptions that should be scrutinized. Any exemptions that are unfair or do not provide a return on investment should be removed.

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

I support marijuana legalization and regulation. Big government dictating people’s personal choices by criminalizing the use of marijuana creates an even bigger problem, as lives are ruined forever by the criminal court system. See votepaulk.org/drugs.html

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 think a governor needs the ability to exercise some emergency powers to protect New Mexicans in a crisis. However we should have clear guidelines about when they can be expanded and under what conditions they can be reined in, possibly by a vote by the legislature.

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

I support this repeal because I don’t think big government should be involved in women’s health decisions. Reproductive justice demands modernizing our laws for the 21st Century. See votepaulk.org/reproductive_justice.html

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 support the new law but with safeguards against nuisance suits. Everybody, including police officers, should be held accountable for their actions.

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 support the amendment. When your house is on fire, you may need to dip into your retirement savings. Research shows that improving early childhood wellbeing helps set individuals on the course for a healthy life and lifts up communities in the future. See votepaulk.org/early_childhood_education.html

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 opening the primaries up like other states have done. The more participation we get the better for our government. Many voters have been turned off by both parties (myself included) but they would like to support individual candidates in the primary. They are disenfranchised by our current system.

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?

Yes. Everything should be disclosed. Everybody should be accountable for the projects they support. We have to eliminate wasteful spending and increase accountability in this program, focusing it on essential infrastructure needs that might otherwise go unfunded. See: votepaulk.org/asking_questions.html

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 should focus on improving the quality of life – education, healthcare, public safety – that attracts and fosters a talented workforce, supports local business, and draws in new companies. At the same time, we should ensure our laws do not unfairly burden businesses, and especially small businesses.

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 support a moratorium on fracking until the risks are better understood and mitigated. We also need strong renewable energy standards so we can move away from fossil fuels. See my position on this issue: votepaulk.org/climate_change.html

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

There are short- and long-term issues. Short term we need better training, body cameras, to rebuild our behavioral health care system, and a way to permanently fire bad cops. Long term we need to address the root causes of crime. See: votepaulk.org/justice_and_prisons.html

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 the public’s right to inspect footage with very limited exceptions perhaps determined by a judge. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

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?

I would want to hear what laws and regulations are overly restrictive. If we make the state financially attractive, businesses will come. We must make sure that if the state gives tax breaks for them to come here, there are adequate claw-back provisions to protect the taxpayer.

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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