Q&A: Senate District 19 Candidate Gregg Schmedes

  • NAME: Gregg Schmedes
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Physician
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Tijeras
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: State Representative House District 22 since 2018
  • EDUCATION: M.D. Texas Tech University, B.S. electrical engineering UT-Austin
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: gregg4nm.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 have a massive overspending problem. We need to live within our means. I support giving local school districts the power to make decisions for their own communities. I also support defunding any and all higher education that dogmatically teaches political ideology.

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? This court ruling violates our cherished principle of separation of powers, and the courts cannot dictate the lawmaking of the legislative body. Our best way to achieve academic success in New Mexico is to ensure parents are involved, support school choice, and ensure students respect their teachers.

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

The GRT code should be abolished. It has become a de facto punishment for doing business in New Mexico. It’s an insidious way to tax people and it crushes jobs. It’s also become too political. I support replacing GRT with a sales tax like the vast majority of other states.

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

I oppose the commercialization of marijuana. Traffic accidents and adolescent emergency room visits have exploded in Colorado, and we should learn from their mistake.

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?

Yes. One single person should never have so much power. I support required two thirds legislative approval for a declared emergency lasting longer than 30 days.

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

Oppose. New Mexico has become a haven for late-term and even full-term abortion and tourist abortions from other states. I support providing real healthcare to women and valuing human life.

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. Law enforcement are already subject to individual liability if they violate someone’s rights. To go after them in this way, when they’re working in the line of duty, would crush any hope of getting crime under control in Albuquerque. If crime were under control, Albuquerque could become a world-class city.

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 funds public schools receive yearly because of the Permanent Fund increase annually. If we leave it alone and live within our means, this fund could soon generate $1B per year for public schools. If we rob it, we harm generation after generation of New Mexican children.

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?

Oppose. Private political parties should have the autonomy to choose their own nominees.

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?

All legislators should be required to disclose these projects because they’re publicly funded. The entire process should be transparent.

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?

We simply must grow our private sector. We have crushed small business in NM with over-taxation and overregulation. We need to enact right-to-work laws. We also must solve our “last in education, first in crime” problems so more private companies will choose to come to NM.

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. I support responsible drilling and the protection of our precious water supply. I support the advancement of more nuclear power in NM and a diversified power grid.

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

We must end catch-and-release. I support mandatory minimum sentencing so judges can’t let violent criminals back on the streets. We should improve our mental health infrastructure so people can get the care they need and get back to work and their families. We should give police the support they need.

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 fully support this. However, if video footage would endanger an individual (such as a confidential informant), then there could be limited exceptions.

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?

Abolish the gross receipts tax scheme. Allow counties to choose if they’d like to be right-to-work or not. Stop government wage manipulation. Allow private companies and employees to negotiate their contracts without government interference.

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

TOP |