Q&A: Senate District 13 Candidate Michaela Chavez

  • NAME: Michaela Chavez
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Bookkeeper
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE:
  • EDUCATION: High school – Sandia Preparatory School. Some college – DeVry University
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: michaela4nmsenate.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?

The pandemic has made it glaringly obvious that we must make real progress diversifying our economy and maintaining reserve budgets – not use them as a piggy bank for special projects. The Legislature must now focus on ensuring that New Mexicans can have trust in where their tax dollars are spent.

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?

It is disappointing that the governor chose to challenge this court case for dismissal. Smart budgeting and hyper-focusing the dollars on classroom spending, instead of bloated bureaucracies, would uplift the education of the students our state has failed for so long.

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

I support a complete overhaul of GRT.

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

Despite benefits touted by supporters, I’m not currently convinced this is the right policy for New Mexico. To gain my support, any legalization bill would need to include strict enforcement for driving under the influence, adequate safeguards to keep it away from minors, and strong protections for businesses and workers.

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?

Our democracy has worked because of the separation of powers. The Legislature should be involved in some way when appropriating taxpayer funds during a crisis. The executive should not have unilateral power, there must be checks and balances. Discussions of mandatory vaccinations are also startling.

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

Oppose. I believe that life begins at conception. We must also protect rights of conscience for health care professionals.

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?

Oppose. The outrageous demands from progressive activists to defund or abolish the police are hurting the morale of our law enforcement officers.

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?

The Land Grant Permanent Fund belongs to future generations of New Mexicans. Any efforts to increase the distributions must be highly scrutinized to ensure they do not deplete the fund in a way that is detrimental to these future generations.

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?

It should be easy to vote and difficult to cheat. We should look for ways to increase voter education and participation.

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?

Capital outlay funds should be spent in a fair and transparent manner that contributes to long-term economic growth and development of our state. Legislators should be required to disclose which projects they choose to fund.

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 cannot tax or regulate our way to economic diversification and growth. The state should stop playing favorites with politically connected businesses or industries and allow them to compete on a level playing field.

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?

Oppose.

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

Our state must address disastrous implementation of the bail reform amendment that created a revolving door for criminals. Addressing mental health and substance abuse is also necessary to improving public safety.

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?

Support. There should be some limitations to protect, for example, crime victims, people reporting a crime, and confidential informants.

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 must improve our education system to have a stronger workforce ready for the 21st century jobs, reform our out-of-date tax system that penalizes small businesses, and repeal ineffective regulations that no longer serve their purpose of protecting public health and safety.

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?

Yes

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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