Q&A: Senate District 35 Candidate Crystal R. Diamond

  • NAME: Crystal R. Diamond
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Self, consultant. Former director Sierra Soil & Water Conservation District
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Elephant Butte
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former elected official- Board of Supervisors, Sierra Soil & Water Conservation District; current elected official— Board of Education, Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools.
  • EDUCATION: New Mexico State University, Bachelor of Science in agriculture economics and business
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.DiamondforNM.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 carefully consider the funding of special projects and prioritize those of which will help most in regards to economic development and infrastructure. State government must learn to prepare budgets and manage finances just as we do in our individual households – by not spending more money than we make.

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?

As a school board member and firsthand witness to a failing state school system, I believe we must do better to insure access technology needs, specifically in rural and remote school districts, increase access to social and mental health services, and ensure our teachers are receiving the resources needed.

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

Current New Mexico tax code discourages business growth and places an unfair burden on low income families. Eliminating pyramiding of gross receipts tax and transitioning GRT to a sales tax will make New Mexico more competitive, while still creating a stable revenue source.

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

While I am not a proponent of legalizing recreational marijuana, I support the sale and use of medical marijuana use and favor expanding the industry to meet the medical and health needs of New Mexicans.

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 important the governor has the necessary tools to effectively manage in times of crisis, but not at the cost of economic peril for hard working families. In light of the current pandemic, emergency powers granted to the governor should be reviewed and revised.

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

I am a pro-life candidate. As a Christian I value life from conception to natural death.

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 removal of the defense of qualified immunity. I remain a strong supporter of law enforcement and will work to ensure our officers receive the resources needed to protect and serve to the best of their ability.

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?

Like Sen. John Arthur Smith, I oppose a constitutional amendment to access dollars from the LGPF and will vote to block access of such financially irresponsible attempts.

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.

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 fully support a merit-based award system, increased accountability, and increased transparency. We need to ensure capital outlay dollars bring a return on investment back to our communities and state.

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?

I support innovation from our research universities, national labs, and private sector. We should expand bioscience, advanced technologies, energy production and aerospace by cutting bureaucratic red tape to accelerate start-up companies. I support the Local Economic Development Act and Job Training Incentive Program that work to advance such industries.

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 and would work instead to support responsible extraction of our states natural resources, including oil and natural gas.

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

New Mexico must work hard to avoid creating a turnstile justice system, increase enforcement of existing laws, and ensure our law enforcement has the most up-to-date equipment and best resources to meet the challenges of protecting and serving our communities.

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 increased transparency and the public’s right to access camera footage of law enforcement officers with the exception of minors and victims to ensure their privacy is protected and respected.

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?

New Mexico needs an immediate overhaul of our tax code, replacing gross receipts with sales tax, narrow our legislative focus on policies that grow business and do not impede on small businesses ability to operate; and the develop a strong, stable workforce with educational emphasis on technical and trade careers.

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.

2006 DUI arrest, not guilty plea, dismissed without prejudice.

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