Q&A: Senate District 19 Candidate John D. McDivitt

  • NAME: John D. McDivitt
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Libertarian
  • OCCUPATION: Retired Naval officer and financial consultant
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Fascinated by politics since age 10. Political science minor in college.
  • EDUCATION: B.A. cum laude Michigan State University 1972
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: lpnm.us/john-mc-divitt

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 should reduce spending and lower tax rates to encourage economic activity. The Legislature should also rein in the governor and prevent further damage to our economy by her capricious and unfair edicts which may be well intentioned but are causing more harm than the coronavirus.

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 very best thing the Legislature can do is to foster competition in education. This always results in better outcomes despite powerful special interest groups views to the contrary. Dollars should follow the student and be directed as the parents see fit not a bureaucracy.

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

The gross receipts tax is onerous and should be abolished. A modest sales tax not to exceed 5% on non-food goods only (and never on services) would stimulate economic activity making increased tax revenue the eventual result.

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

I support decriminalizing marijuana as well as other recreational drugs. What a person chooses to ingest is their business. They should remain fully responsible for their actions while under the influence of any substance. Sales tax would apply as per question #3.

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?

Absolutely! The system of government our founders created is based on checks and balances and division of powers. I see nothing in our constitutional system of governance allowing for the conveyance of dictatorial powers to anyone. In emergency situations the governor should provide accurate, nonpolitical and factual information not mandates.

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

Since this law is not being enforced anyway why is this even an issue? I am neither pro-choice nor pro-life in the strictest sense. I would prefer adoption to abortion myself but I am not God and thus not qualified to make that decision.

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 support such legislation. I would also propose having each peace officer carry their own malpractice insurance. For the vast majority rates would be reasonable and affordable. For bullies with badges the rates would eventually encourage them to find another line of work.

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. This would simply encourage others with compelling needs to attempt the same course of action. A “permanent” fund ceases to be permanent if withdrawals are excessive regardless of the nature and validity of the request.

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 propose an end to voter registration by political party. Voters should be able to show up at the polls on primary election day and request the partisan ballot they prefer. By the way, there are currently THREE major political parties in New Mexico; Democrats, Libertarians and Republicans.

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 haven’t a clue what a “merit-based” evaluation system would look like but I support full transparency of disclosure on how legislators fund or propose to fund projects.

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 should work quickly to diversify our economy by exploiting our greatest asset… our incredible weather. We should become more welcoming to retirees and small businesses by creating a more tax friendly environment. We should also work to increase tourism and the entertainment industry with tax incentives not taxpayer money.

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 and no. I do not find the potential of rolling brownouts very appealing.

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

I believe public safety is largely a county and municipal issue. The Legislature should repeal all laws which interfere with the citizen’s right to fully exercise his or her 2nd Amendment rights.

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 and only if an officer is involved in a potential criminal investigation. Any such video should be privileged until such time as a case is dismissed or remanded to further proceedings.

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?

Reducing tax rates and eliminating the gross receipts tax as stated in question #3. Lower taxes are always attractive. I am certain we have many ridiculous and outdated regulations on the books as well which I would be more than happy to work to overturn.

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?

No

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