Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 7 Travis Kellerman - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 7 Travis Kellerman

Travis Kellerman

Name: Travis Kellerman

Political party: Democratic

Age: 37

Education: BA in politics and history, UNM, 2006

Occupation: Co-founder and lead strategist at Quotient Labs, since 2019

Family: Single, no children

Relevant experience: Policy analyst for City Councilor Martin Heinrich; house majority liaison to the New Mexico Senate; co-founder of Lavu Inc., an Albuquerque tech startup success story; impact data science strategist at Quotient Labs, leading sustainability and social data modeling for cities; strategic futurist and forecaster

Campaign website: Travisforabq.com

What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?

Poverty and lack of opportunity. My top goal as city councilor is to build an inclusive economy with affordable housing, functional zero homelessness, and living wages for workers across the city. Poverty and addiction are at the root of property crime in District 7.

What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?

Short term: Increase funding/resources to scale up social intervention, data science, and community policing. Divert social service calls and enforce traffic laws.

Long term: Address root causes — addiction, poverty, mental health, homelessness — with new social infrastructure and data-driven accountability for reducing crime, ROI, and increasing quality of life.

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?

APD must abide by the mandates from the courts. If certain mandates to higher courts have been found to be ineffective, I would be open to discussion with front-line officers and supporting social and community agencies to form new proposals for greater pro-social impact.

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?

On a recent police ride-along, I observed a range of technology in use for both violent and non-violent response. To increase return on investment within the budget, we need honest assessment of true need, with an aim for cost-saving via demilitarization. Recurring budgets grow when we ignore root causes.

What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?

After-school program funding should increase to include pre-apprenticeship vocation activities, youth mental health support, and mentorship. We also need to invest in Albuquerque as a data refinery — which means creating a trusted and ubiquitous data collection platform that shows, in near-real time, what is and isn’t working in our city.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?

I will not support raising taxes as we are currently structured. New federal and state funds are available for long-term investments. As an entrepreneur, I have also proposed new revenue streams for the city, including the creation of saleable environmental and social credits to serve the exploding ESG investment market.

What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?

We have a unique opportunity to invest in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that will build an inclusive economy and the next generation of tradespeople. Not only will they give an immediate boost to infrastructure programs, but will give the next generation the future skills to keep building our economy.

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 Council and voters need more data. To be clear, I love New Mexico United, but don’t necessarily support a new, taxpayer-funded stadium. I would like to see what the true return on investment and positive social impact will be compared to other $50 million investments, before we discuss where.

What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?

End-to-end mental health treatment, drug addiction and exploitation disruption, and violence-intervention programs are critical. I propose a decentralized transition housing solution with efficient tiny home conversions from used shipping containers, and using the Gateway Center as it was intended — to triage and treat, but not to permanently house people.

What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?

Build the rest of the solution, so the center can serve as triage to determine permanent solutions for individuals in need. The cost of the current tiny home model threatens to derail the entire decentralized idea. Dignified transition housing, from converted containers, are complete with utilities at $20,000/unit.

What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?

The homeless population has quadrupled since 2013. Root causes include displacement from an unfair housing market and cycles of addiction and poverty. I believe in addressing issues at the root. A lack of long-term investment encourages this reality. The city needs new data to pinpoint root causes and track ROI (return on investment).

What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?

There are no senior centers or community centers in District 7. It is time to bring in a multicultural center and boost after-school programs for our working families. We need to address flooding in low-income areas with major drainage system overhaul. Also, strategic speedbumps, lighting and increased urban forestry.

What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?

Addressing root causes with long term solutions raises the quality of life for everyone. An inclusive economy means living wages, new economy jobs for local people, trickle-up economics, and workers exercising the right to organize. As a councilor, I will do all in my power to build a future-ready Albuquerque.

What differentiates you from your opponents?

I am one of only two candidates in the District 7 race to qualify for public financing. My data-driven policy and logic reaches across aisles. My philosophy: confluence over compromise. My background as a tech entrepreneur uniquely qualifies me to adapt city government to support the new economy.

Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?

Community engagement. We all have a stake in city policies and programs. I will lead new outreach, including giving voice to overlooked and underrepresented people with data. Every community member needs to know what is happening and how to get involved — in the places and channels they frequent.

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?

No.

 


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