Q&A: Senate District 14 Candidate Michael Padilla

  • NAME: Michael Padilla
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Business owner
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: State senator 2013-present; senate majority whip 2015-2017; chairman, Science, Technology, and Telecommunications Committee 2013-present; vice-chairman, Senate Education Committee 2015-present; member of New Mexico State Workforce Development Board 2003-2006 and 2015-present; and, business owner 2000-present.
  • EDUCATION: Los Lunas High School; Six Sigma Certification; University of New Mexico 1990-1993; and University of Phoenix 1994-1998
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: votepadilla.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?

Hold funding stable for economic development, public education, and public safety, and reduce funding equally across other services. Develop a tax incentive, credit, deduction, and other economic development incentives index to eliminate the ones that do not work, and fully fund those that do.

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?

Ensure that New Mexico is participating in all federal funding available the state, and develop a 5-7 year plan that reconfigures state public education funding to meet the requirements of the lawsuit.

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

GRT should be adjusted based on increases or decreases in state budgets to ensure that service interruptions do not exist.

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

Yes, when an appropriate infrastructure can be put in place to regulate it, tax it, not operate as a cash industry like other states, and a successful way to determine intoxication while driving and while at work.

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?

Support the level of authority a governor has right now in statute, believe pandemic and other health crises decisions should be made by health care professionals, and believe state should be opened when goals are met.

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

Support. I don’t personally support abortion for my family, but am not a health care professional, and believe health care decisions should be made by individuals.

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?


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 because of its proven return on investment. I sponsored legislation that created the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. I support if safeguards like minimum value of fund, sunset periods to study success are included. I sponsored additional distribution legislation to fund early education services for six years.

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 believe that voters should vote in the primary of their chosen party.

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?

Support. I have made my capital expenditures available to the public every year I have been in the New Mexico Senate.

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?

Become a leader in high speed broadband internet access. Fund development of intellectual property at our research institutions, and develop a tax incentive, credit, deduction, and other economic development incentives index to eliminate the ones that do not work, and fully fund those that do.

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?

Support, and support climate change requirements across all energy production vehicles.

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

  • Long term: Fully fund early education and K-16 public education to improve the quality of our workforce. Short term: Fully fund judiciary, treatment programs, and police.
  • 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 full transparency of police video.

    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?

    Support changing state laws to improve New Mexico’s competitiveness, and develop a tax incentive, credit, deduction, and other economic development incentives index to eliminate the ones that do not work, and fully fund those that do.

    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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