Q&A: Senate District 8 Candidate Pete Campos

  • NAME: Pete Campos
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Full-time citizen legislator
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Vegas
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former mayor of Santa Rosa; 27.5 years as an educator: at-risk teacher, migrant and high school counselor, Academic and Support Services associate superintendent — Las Vegas City Schools, and president — Luna Community College; state senator — District 8. Elected November 1990 (30th year); Hospital board of directors — several decades, bank board of directors — several decades. Led several civic organizations.
  • EDUCATION: B.A., double major: economics/philosophy — University of New Mexico; M.A., guidance and counseling — New Mexico Highlands University; Ed.D., educational leadership, UNM.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: petecampos.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?

With a degree in economics and as a senior member of the LFC (Legislative Finance Committee) and SFC, I carefully monitor, assess and anticipate primarily through evidenced based statistics — state revenues, expenditures, bonds, economic conditions and financial trends. If elected, I’ll continue to prudently address the need for our economic sustainability.

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?

Retiring after a 27.5-year career in education during which I guided evidence-based accreditation, budget and operational cycles, I believe we must further prioritize early childhood, at-risk, academic, vocational and inclusionary (special needs) education to best prepare all students to proficiently meet their long-term career aspirations.

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

A fair assessment, revised formula and sustainable distribution of GRT among state and local governments to efficiently provide maximum resources to respond to essential public needs is vital. That should include a policy scan, how GRT policy implementation will impact small businesses and communities and how impactful future distributions will be.

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

Circumstances surrounding potential legalization have become compounded due to issues caused by COVID-19, unemployment, an uncertain economy, small business and educational systems downturns, families staying-at-home and domestic violence, substance abuse, depression and suicide factors. I’m keeping an open mind.

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 have had close communication with state government officials and have been able to address many individual situations caused by our disrupted economy and delicate community health. From San Miguel County, health practices were extended to much of northeast New Mexico by implementing a community strategy that contributed to minimizing the mental and physical health effects of COVID-19.

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

I comply with and respect federal law. As a trained counselor, I give voice to every human life. I’ve instituted numerous and support school-based and community public health care clinics. I unequivocally support the careers of our health care providers. I support all persons receiving equal access to mental and physical health care.

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?

As a former mayor responsible for a law enforcement department, I practiced community policing, neighborhood and business watch programs, improved training programs for officers and dispatchers and improved regular communication with citizens to peacefully protect their lives and property. An engaged society is the root of fairness and justice.

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?

Prenatal and years one and two in a child’s life are the most important in providing nutrition, early learning and social skill development. As a state, this is the period we have spent less resources to provide children with an early and fair start. A thorough child development and family plan must be enacted.

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?

Every voter should be allowed to cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice! Expanding the opportunity for more voters to decide who they prefer in a primary election encourages more candidate and voter participation regardless of gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic origination.

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 have been a three-decade advocate for short and long-term strategic planning and capital outlay reform with proposed legislation ready to further improve the process

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?

Diversifying the economy translates into economic stability and continuity, better budget planning and an evidence-based transparent short- and long-term evaluation of recurring resources available for program funding, effectiveness and outcome measurement. I would implement a standard that more accurately aligns recurring and non-recurring revenue.

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?

Like the ETA, cooperation by stakeholders is important for it to be enacted and successful. Health and fiscal ramifications and diversified sources of revenue to fund essential government services that serve low-income earners must be factored in to fully consider the effects of what a potential fracking moratorium means.

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

Community policing and strong civil rights practices should be followed, first-hand testimony must be heard, rehabilitative programs in our prisons improved, more de-escalation technique training provided, and proven rebuilding strategies implemented to strengthen public confidence and support of our overall safety are needed.

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 same right to review police video granted to or withheld from the media for the public as well.

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?

During COVID-19 persons have been looking to New Mexico as a safe area to relocate. As a largely retirement, government and military mission state, we should prioritize our state’s health care, education, broadband delivery, public safety and all-means transportation. More global entrepreneurs will consider investing here.

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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