Q&A: Senate District 38 Candidate Charles “Chuck” Wendler

  • NAME: Charles “Chuck” Wendler
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Retired (Public School Teacher and Administrator)
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Reference atached Biography for leadership involvement
  • EDUCATION: BA, MA, Post Graduate
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: cwendler.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?

A tough measure, as budgetary formulation generally is, but there needs to be a hard look at prioritizing. Distinguish between wants and needs. Possible budget cuts need to be part of the formula.

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?

Are all stakeholders knowledgeable how the state’s educational formula works? Perhaps that would be a good starting point. What are the metrics? How are they weighed? Who gets what, how and why? Invite the stakeholders to share in the budget-making process.

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

Stop taxing the businesses. This creates a pyramid cost accumulation.

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

I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana.

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?

Yes, I support changes should be made to a governor’s emergency powers. They (changes) should be structured so as to limit over-reach. In the spirit of our constitutional representative form of government, unlimited power should not be placed in the hands of one individual. Checks and balances.

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

I support the 1969 state law “that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances.” I oppose repealing it.

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 enacting a new state law as described. The first and primary function of a government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. Yes, terrible, unacceptable mistakes are made by us all — and they need to be appropriately addressed.

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 oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Gant Permanent Fund.

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?

In Dona Ana County, the second largest registration group are “independents.” Perhaps this indicates that something is missing. Our founders … they advised us of the flaws of a party system. For the present time, I support the current system.

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, I support a “merit-based” evaluation system on capital outlay funding. Yes, each legislator should be required to disclose project funding.

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?

Obviously NM needs to seek other sources of revenue funding. Timber, mining and small businesses had been available in the past to appreciable degrees — agriculture provides 13% of revenue. But these and other sectors have been adversely impacted by government regulations mitigating their financial contributions.

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. Safeguards need to be followed. Are there not, now, enough mandates?

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

“We, the people of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty,…” (Preamble to NM State Constitution.) Enforce existing laws. There is growing disrespect for others and the laws that bind us. Morality cannot be legislated. We all need to help in maintaining our state’s character.

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 access public records, police work included. Creating a situation where others are tried and convicted in the area of public opinion is unfair to our judiciary of “innocent until proven guilty.” This is a constitutional right. Let it work.

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?

(See answer to question about diversifying economy) Other factors include improving our unacceptable educational ranking, and practices that impact quality of life issues.

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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