Q&A: Senate District 16 Candidate Chelsea Ann Flanders

  • NAME: Chelsea Flanders
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Stay-at-home mom
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • EDUCATION: Trade school – cosmetology
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: ChelseaforNMsenate.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?

The Legislature will need to make cuts and adjustments to the budget. Learn from the past and don’t rely so heavily on oil production/prices. Ensure we reduce and rid businesses of harmful regulations, allowing for more economic growth.

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?

We are ranked 17th for funding education, but ranked 49th in success of students. Money isn’t going to solve the problem. We need to encourage more student, parent, and teacher involvement. Let the local schools decide what works best for their situation.

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

We should get rid of the gross receipts tax code and switch to a sales tax.

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

I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana. I don’t think the economic benefits would outweigh the problems that would come with legalizing marijuana.

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?

Our country was founded on checks and balances. There should be a time period after the initial emergency that the legislative branch needs to approve the governor’s actions.

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

I oppose repealing a law that outlaws abortion. Life is very precious and I believe it needs to be protected at all stages.

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 would oppose any law that would hold police and other public officials to be sued individually.

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 oppose withdrawing more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund. We need to look how the current budget is being spend and make sure we are spending our money wisely.

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 would oppose opening the state’s primary. The primary is for each party to decide their candidate. If the voter wants to switch to that party to vote in the primary, which is what is allowed, that’s fine.

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’d need to do more research before I make a decision.

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?

First, we need to save during the boom, so we have cushion during the bust. Second, we need to create a state that brings in new businesses, which in turn brings in more revenue to our 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?

I would oppose a moratorium on fracking. A lot of our states income comes from fracking. If we cut that out our economy would tank.

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

We need to create laws and punishments that fit the crime. Repeat offenders shouldn’t continue to get a slap on the wrist.

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 like the freedom of information act.

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?

We need to cut all the excessive business regulations that makes our state unwelcoming to businesses. We want to make our state a desirable place to bring a businesses.

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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