Q&A: Senate District 18 Candidate Ryan Alexandra Chavez

  • NAME: Ryan Alexandra Chavez
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Special Projects Manager and Policy Analyst
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Currently a policy analyst and special projects manager at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce. Former policy analyst in the Office of Gov. Susana Martinez.
  • EDUCATION: Master of Arts in Public Affairs, New Mexico Highlands University. Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, NMHU.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: ryanchavezfornm.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 stop the reckless, wasteful spending we have seen in recent years. The economic downturn has forced New Mexicans to trim their budgets, and the state government abide by the same standard. I do not support increasing taxes on working families and small businesses facing hard times.

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 Legislature must ensure that schools are adequately funded, and that money is going to our classrooms, not spent on bureaucratic waste. We need to better invest in advanced technologies to better prepare our students for success. Teachers and parents should provide input on how best to make these changes.

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

The Gross Receipts Tax is outdated and impacts local small businesses and manufacturers the hardest while giving out of state corporations a leg up. I am in favor of comprehensive tax reform that eliminates pyramid taxing and allows for growth and prosperity for our communities.

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

I understand both sides of this issue and am focused on making sure we do it correctly if we do it. I will lean on the will of my district, but I will not support a poorly developed policy. I have not yet seen a recreational marijuana bill proposed that I can support

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 do not believe the governor’s emergency powers should expand. We have already seen this governor waste millions of taxpayer dollars on faulty PPE from a sham company. I would support limiting emergency spending and increased transparency.

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

I consider myself pro-life and would oppose repealing that part of the statute. I believe we should invest more in preventative measures, such as access to birth control and better sex education.

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 oppose the repeal of qualified immunity. This type of repeal would remove any responsibility from hiring agents to do their due diligence in the hiring process and would ultimately result in a mass exodus from the law enforcement field, leaving our communities undefended.

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?

We should make every effort to enhance child wellbeing without raiding the Land Grant Permanent Fund. As the fund grows, so do the disbursements that provide future generations with financial stability and reliability for essential government services, including early childhood education opportunities.

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 allowing registered voters of any affiliation to vote on the primary ballot of their choice, without being forced to change their registration. I would also support making judicial, district attorney, and races for secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor nonpartisan to prevent political corruption.

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, and yes. The current capital outlay process allows for secrecy, corruption, and waste. Working in the Governor’s Office, we saw and vetoed capital outlay projects that weren’t even within the state of New Mexico. The process must transform entirely to provide transparency and accountability.

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’s economy can become more diverse through tax reform that gets rid of the gross receipts tax and achieving a fair, but effective, regulatory environment. These tactics, as well as investing in public safety, education, and workforce development, will greatly help existing businesses and attract new business.

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 oppose a moratorium on fracking. Through fracking, the oil and gas industry contributes thousands of high paying jobs, and revenue to our schools and healthcare system that we cannot risk. The mandates adopted in the Energy Transition Act are very ambitious and should not be increased.

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

We need to reform our state’s bail policy to ensure that violent criminals are caught and brought to justice. We also need to address public safety with a comprehensive, preventative strategy that addresses the root causes of crime, including mental health, ensuring that support services are adequately funded and functioning correctly.

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 public inspection of police footage; however, I have concerns this could lead to a culture of guilt by public opinion against private citizens, based on video, without a proper investigation or legal process. I believe any footage that puts victims at risk should be withheld from the public.

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 believe comprehensive tax reform eliminating the gross receipts tax would instantly make New Mexico’s economy more competitive. I think we can work on reforming many of our professional license laws to increase competition, as well as eliminating bureaucratic red tape from business operations.

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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