Q&A: Senate District 23 Candidate Sander Rue

  • NAME: Sander Rue
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Real estate appraiser
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: New Mexico State Senator, 2008-present; City of Albuquerque Mental Health Task Force, 2014-2015; City of Albuquerque Redistricting Committee, 2010-2011; City of Albuquerque Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices, 2006-2008; Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Unification Charter Commission, 2004; City of Albuquerque Open Space Advisory Board, 2003-2005; Petroglyph Little League Board of Directors, 2007-2014; Rancho Sereno Neighborhood Association Board Member (founding president), 1999-present
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of New Mexico
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.sanderrue.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?

State government spending has increased 20% over the past two years. Reducing government spending to levels prior to the collapse of the oil industry and pandemic would put the state on a sustainable course for the foreseeable future.

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?

Accountability. In the 2020 legislative session I cosponsored SB 96 which would mandate online school budget reporting to show how schools budget funds for at-risk student supports, bilingual multicultural education services, special education student supports, administrative costs, salaries and benefits by job classification, major expenditure categories and revenue sources.

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

Comprehensive tax reform to assure a fair and equitable system. Our current system has been described as Swiss cheese, full of holes by playing favorites as to who gets a tax break and who does not. All should pay their fair share, lessening the burden on everyone else.

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

Presently, I’m still opposed. There are too many unresolved issues and questions with no good answers. We have to get it right. Much can be learned from the successes and failures of other states’ programs.

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?

At the onset of an unanticipated crisis, the governor should have the power to act immediately and decisively. Over time the governor and legislature, working together, must develop longer-term strategies to address both public health and economic recovery plans necessary to put New Mexicans safely back to work.

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

Repealing state law will change nothing unless/until the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Address the issue then when it will have legislators’ full and undivided attention. This is too important an issue to play political games with. My position then would depend on the specific legislation.

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.

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?

During my tenure in the Senate, I have supported increased funding for early childhood programs, most recently the creation and funding for the new Early Childhood Education & Care Department. I am opposed to using the Land Grant Permanent Fund as a funding source.

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?

Yes. I support opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either political party. Qualified voters should not be excluded from participating in the election process.

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. Since 2017, I have sponsored legislation that would make public the projects each legislator funds with capital outlay dollars, i.e. taxpayer money. The process should be open and transparent for all to see. It has failed to pass every year.

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?

Diversify our economy to lessen our dependence on the volatile oil and gas industries and federal government. Legislators must empower the private sector economy to grow and prosper through comprehensive tax reform and elimination of onerous and stifling rules and regulations. Raising taxes is not diversifying our economy.

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.

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

Adequately fund programs shown to reduce recidivism. Better assessments and evaluations of individuals entering the system charged with minor offences. Direct them into programs that address underlying issues such as drug and alcohol abuse. For individuals exiting the system, assistance with housing, employment and access to health care.

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. Law enforcement officers’ camera footage should be treated no differently than other law enforcement evidence. Public requests for access should be made directly to the District Attorney’s Office to determine what is of evidentiary value, what is not, and when to release it to 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?

We don’t have enough taxpayer money to continue bribing companies to come to New Mexico by offering generous financial incentives as a way of compensating for our shortcomings. Improve our education system and reduce crime to get off the bottom of one list and the top of the other.

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?

My association with a failed business over 30 years ago resulted in liens being filed which were subsequently released. A more recent dispute with the state has been resolved.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

My involvement in a family owned business over 30 years ago resulted in the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which was successfully completed and closed.

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

I have never been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or DWI. Due to an oversight on my part, I was detained briefly in 1991 for failure to appear on a traffic citation involving an expired license plate registration sticker. The case was dismissed.

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