Q&A: Senate District 14 Candidate Mary Kay Ingham

  • NAME: Mary (Thomson) Ingham
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Pediatric physical therapist
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Worked mainly as a pediatric physical therapist in New Mexico for 42 years with Indian Health Service, a small hospice, inpatient adults and Carrie Tingley Hospital/University of New Mexico Hospital. Served with parent-teacher organizations, church vestry, assisting/welcoming foreign students new to UNM, and on the boards of charitable organizations related to serving people affected by disability.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.MaryIngham2020.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 a moratorium on any new or proposed spending. We should move toward a balanced budget. Recovery will require sacrifice on the part of all New Mexicans with leadership from the Legislature, for several years to come. We must ensure that taxpayers are not further burdened with new taxes.

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 court ruled what New Mexicans already knew. PED is failing students. The governor should be fighting for students instead of against the ruling. We need to support parental rights to school choice, restore technical and vocational education in high schools and middle schools, and promote entrepreneurship.

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

New Mexico and Hawaii are the only states with a GRT, and it is cumbersome for businesses. It is a form of pyramiding taxes that is burdensome to taxpayers and businesses. We need a simple, across-the-board tax rate that is fair and equitable to all.

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

I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use. As a medical professional, I have personal and professional experiences with the behavioral and health concerns that this will cause. Colorado experienced an increase of criminal activity after legalization. New Mexico’s health and safety is not for sale.

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 power should be restricted to constitutional limits. They should not be expanded. Also, laws and budget decisions are for the legislative branch to make, not the executive branch. We have checks and balances for a reason.

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

Every person is fearfully and wonderfully made by God Almighty, and each life must be protected from conception to natural death. Leave the law in place to protect the babies, those with suspected disabilities in utero, and the health care workers who choose not to participate in abortions.

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?

Oppose. “Other public officials,” should be clearly defined, and I need more information to understand the implications of this question. We need to fund, support and defend our law enforcement officers to allow for future hiring of new officers and to prevent a mass exodus of those currently serving.

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?

Oppose. The funding of early childhood programs has increased significantly, with no notable change in school success rates. We need to support, encourage and allow families to care for and nurture these young children at home whenever possible.

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?

We should leave the primary system in place. In districts like mine, where “decline to state”/independent voters” outnumber a party, this could drastically change what happens in the primary election.

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?

From personal experience, the system needs revision. I know of a school where these funds were used on a shade structure, instead of repairing the badly leaking roof. This makes the government look disconnected from the true needs of their constituency. Legislators must disclose how the money is spent.

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?

Take advantage of oil and gas revenues while they are available. The permanent fund is a good example of prudent use of “boom and bust” revenue, to provide a steady income source. A first step to bring new business would be to reform GRT.

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. Fracking, with careful adherence to environmental law, has been found to be a safe method of energy extraction, without contamination of groundwater.

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

Fully funding police and prosecutors is crucial. Judges need to be held accountable to impose punishments on offenders and provide restitution for victims. The Legislature should actively seek information from those who actually play a role in implementing criminal laws before voting them into effect.

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?

Support, but in the majority of cases this is only appropriate after the investigation is complete and the legal processes are satisfied. Media showing snippets of footage can greatly impact public opinion and the criminal justice process in the future. Additionally, privacy protections for abuse victims should be respected.

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?

Let’s evaluate each proposed law and regulation against its impact for the state and businesses, to prevent one-sided decisions and solutions. For example, business incentive programs need to be evaluated with a view of the long-term effects for the state. We absolutely can be competitive with our neighbors.

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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