Q&A: Public Regulation Commission District 1 Candidate Cynthia Hall
- NAME: Cynthia Hall
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Commissioner, District 1, Public Regulation Commission
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current PRC Commissioner. Former: associate general counsel, PRC; staff attorney, Public Service Commission; hearing examiner, fraud prosecutor, associate general counsel, Office of Superintendent of Insurance; attorney, Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources; environmental, land use attorney, Sandia National Labs/U.S. Navy; tribal, real estate, corporate private practice; federal judicial clerk; Bernalillo County Planning Commissioner; research supervisor, Ralston Purina Co.
- EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts, biology, Washington University; Master of Science, physiology, Saint Louis University; juris doctor, Southwestern Law School
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: CynthiaforPRC.com
Why are you running for a seat on the commission?
I initially ran because, as a lawyer advising the commission in 2008, I realized the need for expertise on the commission and was concerned about the possible failure to regulate responsibly in the face of climate change. I want to provide continuity and direction in this critical energy transition time.
What are some specific goals you want to accomplish as a commissioner?
I want to continue to push our monopoly electric utilities to provide maximally affordable, sustainable energy for New Mexico consumers. I want to finish initiatives on transparent electric utility procurement practices, grid modernization, optimizing consumer benefits from New Mexico’s participation in regional electricity markets, and delivery of broadband service statewide.
What are your thoughts about the new Energy Transmission Act, and how would you work to balance both utility and consumer interests as the state transitions away from fossil fuels to renewable resources and carbon-free generation?
We’re fortunate in the ETA’s aggressive renewables mandate, path to early coal plant closures, economic justice provisions, and advantageous financing mechanism for cost recovery, providing substantial ratepayer savings. If ownership of generation sources shifts from utilities toward third parties, we may need adjustments to current cost-of-service ratemaking to balance interests.
Voters will decide in November on a constitutional amendment to return the five-member elected commission to a three-member body appointed by the governor. What are your thoughts about the proposal?
I strongly support appointment, used successfully for 55 years. The 20-year experiment with elections has worsened the problems of commissioner corruption and incompetence. The statute implementing the constitutional change wisely requires a vetting committee to prevent governor favoritism. Commissioners shouldn’t be both judges and representatives.
The PRC operates as a quasi-judicial body that requires commissioners to possess specialized knowledge and experience to function fairly and efficiently in the public’s interest. In your opinion, what are those needed qualities, and how do you personally meet the qualifications?
Commissioners need work experience and graduate-level education in fields basic to high-level analytical decision-making (law, economics, business/public administration, STEM). Commissioners must value fact-based decision-making, not vote-trading, possess intellectual stamina and curiosity, and desire public service. I have shown the experience, education, and drive to serve the public interest as commissioner.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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.