Q&A: Senate District 8 Candidate Melissa Fryzel

  • NAME: Melissa Fryzel
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Data and business analyst
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Taos
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Secretary and data coordinator for RPNM; legislative analyst
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor’s – psychology and sociology
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: MelissaForNM.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?

New Mexico businesses need to be back at work at 100 percent. Look at loosening state regulations on our business community. Create and market new tax incentives to get industries to our state. We need to target in on the current need for domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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?

First and foremost, existing New Mexico businesses need to be back at work at 100 percent. We must then look at loosening state regulations on our business community and then create and market new tax incentives to get industry to our state.

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?

There needs to be accountability within our educational system that outlines every dime spent and where our education funds are going. Right now, our educational dollars are being funneled into a vast wasteland, with no risk mitigation and no accountability. The citizens of New Mexico deserve to know where every education tax dollar is spent.

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

Medical and small businesses need to be taxed on net receipts, not gross receipts. This alone would help increase the standard of medical care in this state.

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

I support legalizing marijuana at the federal level and with adequate state regulations. I know a little girl that has been dealing with grand mal seizures and is now facing temporal lobe surgery. I find it immoral that this little girl will go through more physical suffering, when cannabis could be the natural cure.

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 – the powers of the governor need to be limited. One way we need to do this is to amend Article 4, Section 1 of the New Mexico Constitution, to allow enacted Legislature to be repealed by resolutions of 3/4 of the objecting counties.

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

I oppose repealing this law. I believe in the right-to-life and I’m against late-term abortions.

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 do not support abolishing the defense of qualified immunity. I do support a well-funded and educated police force. Something we can look at is raising the minimum passing requirements on the qualifying exams. Require those that receive below-average scores to take additional mandated training with limited re-testing opportunities.

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?

There is no logic in increasing funding in a broken system that we pathologically rank last in. The first step should be to reform the educational system and provide more choice to families and address the root issues. The funding should follow the student, to allow parents to determine the best option for their 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 support opening the state’s primary elections to voters who are not affiliated with either major political party, as long as we also implement legislation that ensures the integrity of our electoral process, through requiring proof of identity and citizenship at the polls.

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?

Considering that this would provide more transparency, I do support merit-based funding if proper metrics and safeguards are in place to ensure adequate risk mitigation.

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?

Climate change can and must be addressed. I do not believe that dismantling our energy economy is the only way to relieve climate change. I am opposed to policies or agreements that put the New Mexico economy at a disadvantage globally, while the world’s largest polluters fail to initiate plans for environmental impact reduction.

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 do not support a moratorium on new fracking licenses. The all-or-nothing mentality that has been the focus of this topic needs to end. What happened to the art of compromise? We need to stop reacting emotionally to this topic and realize that this is not something that can be fixed in a short-time.

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

For decades, our political leaders have accepted the high crime levels as a way of life in New Mexico. The reality is we have lax laws passed by political leaders who have failed to address this pressing crisis. One of the items on my agenda is to go after the “catch and release” system.

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?

Without specific policies or statutes to provide guidance sharing, it does not need to be permitted. There are several instances that it should be exempted from public inspection. Some of these would include the classification or nature of the alleged crime, the age of the individuals in the video and if it is in violation of privacy laws.

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?

We need to create sustainable incentives for companies to do business in our state, revision to the gross receipts tax and revisit the metrics used to determine unemployment eligibility. Additionally, we need to focus on improving our roads and overall infrastructure, which are a strike against us, when it comes to providing logistics to the manufacturing and distribution markets.

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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