Q&A: Senate District 9 Candidate John Stahlman Clark

  • NAME: John Stahlman Clark
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Owner/operator, JC Blinds
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Business owner-operator 27 years, corporate executive nine years
  • EDUCATION: B.A., political science – University of Northern Colorado
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.johnclark4nm.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?

In light of the falling oil prices and economic downturn due to COVID-19, it is imperative to restructure the budget, make cuts where necessary and reduce the rate of increases to ensure a balanced budget without raising taxes. We can’t jumpstart our economy by raising taxes.

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?

Work together to find more effective ways to channel money to students and teachers, and less to school bureaucracy. School district overhead is out of control and we need to get more dollars to the classroom.

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

Stop taxing labor. We need to attract new businesses to our state, and the regressive labor tax inhibits us from competing with surrounding states and bringing in new businesses and jobs.

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

I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana; I support medical 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?

The state legislature should implement laws that would protect the people and the economy from government overreach in times of crisis. There must be objective oversight and prevention plans in place that will ensure that our state is healthy, both physically and fiscally.

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

I do not support the repealing of the 1969 state law. I am pro-life.

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?

No. Crime is a major issue in New Mexico. Strengthening laws to protect crime fighters, protect the public, and our citizens is paramount. Laws that make it tougher for police officers to do their job and inhibit officer recruitment, will only cause crime to rise.

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 do not support a constitutional amendment that would withdraw funds from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services. I do support increasing early childhood services, but those funds need to come out of the baseline budget.

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?

None. I do not support opening the states’ primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party. Allowing this to happen would only open up the elections to more shenanigans. It would allow excessive influence by non-party voters to determine a specific party candidate.

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?

Transparency is the key to good government, so I would look at supporting a merit-based evaluation system. I would support any legislation that lessens government corruption. All legislators should disclose which projects they are funding regardless of party.

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?

We need to attract more businesses to New Mexico to make our state less dependent on oil and gas. I would work with the state and local economic development departments, to make sure they have the necessary tools to attract new business. This would include tax incentive and investment.

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?

No, I would not support a moratorium on fracking or impose additional renewable energy mandates. We all want clean air and water and we must strive to keep our state competitive with other surrounding states by not overregulating.

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

In order to improve public safety and mitigate crime, I would support increasing funding to local governments so that they can build up their police departments and place more boots on the ground in many communities combating 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 right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers without withholding the footage 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?

Kindle the economy by promoting the state of New Mexico as the #1 retirement state in the country, remove the tax on social security, reform the gross receipts tax, increase funding to economic development agencies to stimulate businesses, and develop a realistic budget that works for New Mexicans.

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?

I am a business owner, and I have never been subject to any state or federal liens.

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

No. I have never filed for bankruptcy.

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. I have never been charged or convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies in New Mexico or any other state.