Q&A: Senate District 24 Candidate Nancy Rodriguez

  • NAME: Nancy Rodriguez
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: State senator/retired county manager/consultant
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current state senator elected 25 years, former Santa Fe County Commissioner, former Santa Fe County Manager and department director
  • EDUCATION: Master of Business Administration with concentration in management information systems and human resources management
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Upgrade in progress

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?

We just recently held a special legislative session to balance the state budget due to the economic downturn caused by this virus pandemic. To reverse the continued economic impact we must stay the course of precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and allow our economic drivers to thrive again.

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?

A successful future starts with early childhood education. I continue to support early child education programs such as the recently created Early Childhood Education & Care Department. I also support the early childhood trust fund for stable funding.

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

Reforming our tax system requires a careful and delicate balance between government, business and all people affected. We must continue to keep food and medicine tax free as these are very regressive taxes on our population. We recently expanded the Working Families Tax Credit as part of tax reform legislation.

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

Yes, revenue generated from its sale should go toward the education and prevention of substance abuse and toward filling the current gap in rehabilitation services.

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?

It’s been over two decades since our state statutes relating to emergency powers have been updated. We are in the process of reviewing old provisions in state statutes and are looking at updating, clarifying and proposing necessary legislative changes during the upcoming regular legislative session in January.

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

I support repealing it. Repealing it also puts New Mexico in compliance with the federal law Roe v. Wade.

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 one should be allowed to claim the defense of qualified immunity in doing wrong to others. We just recently created a Civil Rights Commission to look into the doctrine of qualified immunity and violation of constitutional rights and are awaiting their findings and recommendation for statutory changes.

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?

Children are the foundation for our future. While New Mexico has steadily increased funding for early childhood services, it has never been adequate enough to launch a robust impact on early childhood educational programs. The Land Grant Permanent Fund can provide the increased stable funding necessary for positive educational outcomes.

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?

We recently passed legislation streamlining our election laws to accommodate necessary changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A provision in this legislation allows a voter in a non-major political party to change his/her party affiliation up to the primary election day.

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?

Yes I support legislators disclosing all capital outlay funding.

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 must diversify our economy and reduce our reliance on oil and gas revenues by continuing to provide incentives for businesses to thrive in New Mexico, promote renewable energy incentives such as the solar tax credit, support out outdoor economy, and provide business development through the New Mexico Local Economic Development Act.

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 support a moratorium on fracking. We are working toward weaning ourselves from the reliance of oil and gas revenues by providing business incentives for varied revenue funding streams. We must continue to support alternative and renewable energy sources as it is proven to be cost effective clean energy.

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

Applying a public health approach to New Mexico’s behavioral health and substance abuse concerns is crucial to a reduction in the crime rate and successful rehabilitation. We recently enacted criminal justice reform legislation and continue to analyze New Mexico’s criminal statutes for necessary changes.

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’s right to inspect camera footage taken by law enforcement officers. We recently passed legislation requiring Law enforcement officers to wear body cameras when interacting with 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?

We must continue to provide incentives for both our business community and our local workforce. New Mexico’s Job Training Incentive Program is a step in the right direction; supporting clean energy businesses that infuse millions of dollars into our economy such as the film industry improve our competitive ability.

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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