Q&A: Senate District 38 Candidate Carrie Hamblen

  • NAME: Carrie Hamblen
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: CEO/President, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Community advocate, public leader for over 25 years
  • EDUCATION: MA, communication studies, Masters of Public Administration, NMSU
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Hamblennmsenate38.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?

I believe the Legislature, unfortunately, must first revisit the funding of new programs and determine if lessening that funding will help. Next, they need to move forward on diversifying our revenue stream and not be so heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues.

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 Yazzie/Martinez case was instrumental in highlighting the deficiencies in our educational system. There are elements of the ruling that have been addressed but the Legislature needs to prioritize the remaining issues, develop a timeline for action, and conduct follow up on the effectiveness of those actions.

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

We should make the GRT rate uniform across the state. GRTs penalize sole proprietors and small businesses and although they provide a stable source of revenue, there are other ways to help fund the state. I would prefer the GRT be removed and implement a fair form of taxation.

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

I support the legalization of recreational marijuana as it can provide much needed jobs, can be regulated, and communities can benefit from the taxation. Plus, by legalizing it, we can stop criminalizing people of color and focus more on incarcerating those with legitimate crimes.

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?

I do not believe changes should be made. Our constitution and laws clearly state what powers the governor has during a time of crisis and we are seeing that tested and validated during this pandemic. When we come out of this crisis, we will see the efficacy or inefficiency of these powers and can determine if changes need to be made then.

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

I support removing this law as its existence is excluding women in having a voice in their health care. A majority of New Mexicans support removing this law, recognizing that abortion is safe, legal, and a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor and not with the interference of 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 support abolishing qualified immunity. This is a roadblock for justice, reform, and fairness to victims. This is also an opportunity to dedicate education and training to law enforcement.

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 a constitutional amendment that would go to the voters to determine withdrawing money from the Permanent Fund. The fact that this opportunity was removed from the residents of our state to have a voice in this matter is negating the value of education to our families and 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?

I believe we should open our primaries to voters not registered as Democrats or Republicans. It’s minimizing the value of Democracy by excluding a group of people who choose not to register with either party and negating their voice in the election process. We should also have mandatory mail-in ballots for all elections.

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 do think each legislator should disclose who they fund and for how much. Using a merit-based system in determining capital outlay funding is unfair and ignores evaluating the need of communities and organizations based on ability to use those funds to help their residents and clients.

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 believe we are missing out on a great deal of revenue by not legalizing cannabis and developing more renewable energy. We can regulate and tax the recreational cannabis industry, reduce our energy usage with renewable energy, and create jobs at the same time.

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?

We do need a moratorium on fracking but also provide job training and resources to those impacted by the decrease in oil and gas use while we increase our implementation of renewable energy. Providing jobs and ways for people to make the same living will leave our state will be better off.

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

The Legislature needs to provide more funds for law enforcement training, community education programs and outreach, weed and seed programs and community policing. Engaging residents in a positive and healthy manner, with sensitivity to communities of color, can help strengthen the relationship between less crime and safer neighborhoods.

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 don’t think police video should be withheld at all. It serves as protection for both the officers and the public. I believe the public has a right to inspect footage but only in cases of a suspected violation, abuse, or crime.

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?

I recognize the need to attract outside companies to the state. However, I feel that we need to focus more on cultivating local talent to meet the needs that are commonly sought out of state, support our local businesses and communities, and promote workforce development that spans opportunities for our young people all the way to those of retirement age. Let’s keep it local.

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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