Name: Phillip Ramirez
Political party: Democrat
Education: Working towards my bachelor’s in political science with a minor in business
Occupation: 21 years working construction. 5 years at HDL&M
Family: Married Adelina Ramirez, 5 boys
Relevant experience: Project manager, estimator, GB98, MM98, GF Core and GF4. Vice chair for the Construction Industries Commission
Campaign website: Philforabq.com
What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?
Infrastructure. Our roads are separating, and sidewalks are lifting from all the storm water. The city has been doing temporary repairs for the last 10 years. When you address a problem temporarily, it’s not fixing it. I will make infrastructure improvements the cornerstone of my charge as a city councilor.
What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?
We need to address with the legislature changes to statues that allow repeat offenders back on the street. This proactive approach could deter criminals from committing these repeat offences. Strengthen and adequately fund diversion and addiction treatment programs. Provide and fund mental health facilities and services.
APD continues operating under a U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement that outlines reforms, policy changes, and mandatory training that police need to complete over several years. Should the city continue with that agreement or try to modify it? If so, how should the city try to modify it?
The city definitely needs to modify the agreements. We need to begin the process of understanding the root causes of issues within our department. We need to work with the department to provide them the resources to implement reforms and build on them.
About 31% of all the city’s general fund spending currently goes to the police department. Is that the right amount? If not, should it be higher or lower and why?
If we learned anything from the past few weeks our department is understaffed. This led to a situation where we had officers left out on the street without sufficient back up. We need to expand the budget to provide for more community policing efforts.
What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?
Our entire budget needs to be reviewed in detail. We should increase funding to our human resources department so they can fill vacancies more efficiently. Increase funding to Family and Community Services to create before- and after-school programs that provide families resources for child care.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?
Behavioral health must be a priority in our city. We must get dollars into the hands of the professionals in our community providing them incentives to hire more staff to address the lack of access to residents for behavioral health.
What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?
Support living wages on all city funded projects. Request that all city employees be given a cost-of-living increase at a higher percentage than the federally suggested amount.
If city voters approve a $50 million gross receipts tax bond for a new multipurpose soccer stadium, where do you think it should be built?
The stadium should be built where it will have the least impact to our citizens and their homes. We should be working with our constituents on an agreeable location to build a stadium.
What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?
Early intervention with behavioral health, job loss and addiction. Increase funding and incentives to assist people to stay in the homes that they currently have. Create an outreach program to assist with employment. Provide youth services to assist with day care and community engagement.
What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
Help build a strong foundation. We have to have buy in from stakeholders who already provide many of these services in our city. Gateway needs to be supplemental solution to successful services already being provided in our community. Twenty-four-hour transportation needs to be a priority for its success.
What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?
After listening to advocates it’s pretty simple. This small segment of the population has had bad experiences in shelters or other institutions. We need to take the time to listen to their concerns and find the right fit for them.
What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
Paseo del Norte NW improvements and widening from the current four lanes to Universe.
What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?
Extended hours for our recreational facilities and libraries. Improve access to 24-hour child care.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
It is time for a stronger voice in City Hall. Like so many other blue collar middle class working families, I feel like our concerns are not being heard. It’s time for voters to have a voice that truly understands their struggles because they are struggling right alongside them.
Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?
Domestic violence. Since the start of this pandemic our DV cases have been on the rise. I would like to fund and build a resource center in the District 5 area. Putting a resource shelter in the Northwest area could help provide people better access.
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?
Misdemeanor traffic citation in 2014.