Q&A: 1st Congressional District Candidate Melanie Stansbury

Melanie Stansbury

NAME: Melanie Stansbury
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic Party
OCCUPATION: New Mexico State House Representative
EDUCATION: Master of Science in development sociology, Cornell University; bachelor’s degree in human ecology and natural science, Saint Mary’s College
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 20 years of experience working with communities across New Mexico and the U.S. on water, science, natural resources, and community development in the public, private, and non-profit sectors–including as a Legislator in the New Mexico House of Representatives and as a policy staffer in the White House Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Senate. As a legislator, I have championed efforts to address hunger and homelessness, drought and climate change, and passed over a dozen bills to help improve education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development. As our next Congresswoman, I will put this lifetime of experience to work for our New Mexico in economic development and jobs, community well-being, and protecting our land and water.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: melaniefornm.com


What role should Congress or the federal government have in responding to calls for more justice in policing following the deaths of George Floyd and others by police?
We must reform policing in America. In Congress, I will support police reform and work to address the root causes of crime by supporting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and investments in community programs, behavioral health, education and economic development.

What is your opinion of the coronavirus response packages, including the American Rescue Plan, which was signed by President Biden? Is there anything you would have done differently?
I’m proud to support Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which is providing support to hardworking New Mexicans, state, tribal, and local governments, schools, and help combating the pandemic. In Congress, I will work to rebuild our economy, bring home meaningful jobs, and support critical infrastructure like broadband, water and clean energy.

What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
We must prioritize economic recovery and put New Mexicans back to work. I support President Biden’s American Jobs Plan to help rebuild our economy, invest in businesses and grow jobs. To do so we must invest in infrastructure, education, health care, and our hard-working families and lean into our economic strengths.

What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
The science is clear, we are facing a climate crisis that must urgently be addressed, by addressing our carbon footprint, reimagining and diversifying our economy, and providing tools, resources, and jobs to build a more just, equitable and resilient future for New Mexico and our planet.

The Biden administration has issued a temporary moratorium on issuing new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Where do you stand on the issue?
We must diversify our economy, invest in new technologies and renewable energy and tackle climate change. I support a reevaluation of federal energy policies to examine how to best achieve our climate and energy goals. I’m running for Congress to work with the Administration to build a more resilient economy.

What are the most important actions Congress should take regarding people now living illegally in the U.S.? What about for those who want to come in?
We need a just, fair and humane immigration system that restores our humanity as a nation, protects the human and civil rights of those seeking asylum, reunite families, protects DREAMERs and creates just and equitable pathways to citizenship.

Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose to increase security?
The best border security is promoting safety and security throughout the hemisphere. When immigrants do arrive at our border we need a just, fair and humane asylum and immigration system that can ensure people are treated with respect, dignity and justice.

Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?
Congress must take action to end gun violence and prevent future tragedies. If elected, I will support common-sense gun legislation, including universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapon sales, gun buyback programs and community intervention and prevention programs.

Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
New Mexico is filled with small businesses and entrepreneurs that are the backbone of our economy. Growing up working for our family businesses, I know it’s critical we invest in local businesses, education and training, and our strengths in the trades, science and technology, renewable energy, agriculture and the arts.

Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
Access to health care is a human right. Everyone – regardless of income or pre-existing conditions – deserves access to quality, affordable health care. In Congress, I will fight for universal health care, including Medicare for All, to expand access for Veterans and rural and tribal communities, and health access across New Mexico.

Do you favor or oppose the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan?
Recognizing our troops’ service to this country and protecting the rights and benefits of veterans and their families will always be a priority for me. A withdrawal must be done with care and leadership, and that is why I support President’s Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Do you favor or oppose limits on late-term abortion, and do you believe tax dollars should or should not be used to fund abortions?
These decisions are deeply personal and should remain between a person, their faith, family and doctor. Every pregnancy is unique and the government should trust us to make our own decisions. I proudly supported the Respect Women and Families Act and, in Congress, I will continue to vote pro-choice.

What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
We must invest in our communities and their well-being to address the opioid crisis and ensure that communities have the resources and tools to respond. In Congress, I will support legislation and funding to increase resources for behavioral health and rehabilitative addiction services.

Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
I am running for Congress to serve and lift up the voices of our communities to tackle our biggest challenges from economic development and jobs, to food and water security, to climate change. This campaign is about building a more just, equitable and sustainable world that puts our communities first.

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?

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