Q&A: Senate District 30 Candidate Pam Cordova

  • NAME: Pamela Cordova
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired educator
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Rio Communities
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Twenty-five years as a high school teacher, teaching English and special education; two terms as the president of the New Mexico Federation of Democratic Women.
  • EDUCATION: B.A., English, Eastern New Mexico University; Master’s, Organizational Management, University of Phoenix
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: pamcordovaforsenate.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 must increase revenue, including from capital gains and from those with the highest incomes, and ensure that budget cuts don’t shortchange future economic development, education, or our public health. We will also need to defer non-critical capital projects.

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?

School funding as part of the state budget shrunk during the Martinez Administration from 50% to around 43% – so it’s no wonder underfunded schools underperform. We need to raise more revenue for education through a more equitable tax system, starting by repealing the 2013 corporate tax give-away.

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

I will always oppose bringing back the gross receipts tax for food and medicine. I support comprehensive reform that would close loopholes, and a tax expenditure budget law to evaluate all the tax exemptions to the GRT.

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

I support legalizing recreational marijuana, with strong regulation and taxation. I believe our limited law enforcement resources can be better spent addressing more serious criminal behavior. New Mexico will benefit from the millions of dollars in tax revenue to our general fund at a time we most need it.

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?

It is critical that the governor, no matter what party nominated them, have the power to respond to emergencies that threaten the lives of New Mexicans. We need to clarify the law regarding public health orders, and provide a framework for medium to long-term public health emergencies.

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

I support the repeal of our 1969 abortion ban because women should be trusted to make their own healthcare decisions – not politicians.

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 abolishing qualified immunity. However, the current scope of immunity is too broad, and leaves citizens little to no recourse against illegal actions by government agents that result in real harm. We must have a legal system that balances citizens’ rights and government’s interests, not total immunity.

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 support an amendment to draw an additional 1% per year from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund early childhood education. Studies show a high public return on early investments in childhood programs including a more educated workforce, less crime, and a stronger economy.

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?

Open primaries tend to increase voter participation which is something I support.

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 would support capital outlay reform that ensures critical projects in areas with high need can receive more funding than one or two legislators can provide, especially to support major projects in rural areas. I will always release my capital outlay sponsorships, and support legislation to require transparency.

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?

Our state government should provide more support for small businesses that contribute to economic innovation and that provide well paying and lasting jobs. I also believe our state investment funds should support emerging New Mexico-based businesses in growing sectors like food and hemp production, tourism, film, and healthcare.

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 support our state’s transition towards renewable energy and recent efforts to regulate emissions from natural gas wells, which protect public health and conserve finite and valuable resources. Fracking methods should be regulated, and chemical additives be disclosed and tested for their health effects.

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

We must ensure that behavioral health services and drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation are available to every New Mexican regardless of income or geography. We also need to assist local law enforcement in targeting repeat, violent offenders that account for the majority of violent crime.

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 the public’s right to inspect body camera footage, except for footage being used in active criminal or internal affairs investigations.

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?

Our state must invest in its people – through education, job training, and community services – to develop an attractive environment for businesses. Ensuring we have a skilled workforce and economic and social stability for workers and their communities is the prerequisite for economic development.

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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