Name: Lori Robertson
Political party: Republican
Education: Sandia High School; attended UNM
Occupation: Commercial real estate agent
Family: Bill Robertson husband; 4 children, 7 grandchildren
Relevant experience: Small business owner, commercial real estate agent, board member of a non-profit servicing homeless youth, Comanche Elementary School PTA, in-district condo association owner, Sandia High School football boosters; lifelong Albuquerque and District 7 resident
Campaign website: LoriRobertsonABQ.com
What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?
Public safety! Our community has seen more crime than ever before and there are a multitude of factors contributing to the problem. We need to support our APD officers, provide them with the tools to enforce the law and elect officials that will hold citizens accountable for their actions.
What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?
We must be advocates for our community by supporting pro-public safety legislation, revise case management orders, revise the bail bond amendment and lobby for keeping repeat offenders behind bars. City Council must work diligently with the mayor to increase manning levels and morale within APD.
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 DOJ agreement should be modified to include an exit strategy. The taxpayers in Albuquerque are currently paying over $1 million a year for the DOJ oversight. We must have a plan to complete the strategies implemented by the DOJ and move forward.
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?
Law enforcement is generally one of the largest budget items. 31% seems to be a fair number. I would like to take a deeper dive into the budget and attempt to move more funds toward officer pay to add incentives for our officers on the streets and boost morale.
What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?
The current budget needs to be closely scrutinized to ensure we are headed in a new and improved path forward instead of continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again. We must be more fiscally responsible and quit putting pretty band aids on our problems.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?
With current city revenue there should be no reason to raise taxes in the near future.
What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?
Lowering our city’s crime rate and improving our education system must be top priorities if we want Albuquerque to prosper. These are large challenges and can’t be solved overnight but there is much to be learned from neighboring cities who are having success with change.
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?
If approved by the voters, we need to make sure we do our due diligence, and the location should be chosen based on the economic feasibility of the site. Multiple sites should be considered and studied to determine the best fit for our city.
What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?
Homelessness is not a one size fits all problem. A multitude of programs need to be implemented to meet our homeless neighbors where they are at mentally, physically and developmentally. We need services available to individuals that match their readiness and propel them to be more successful.
What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
It should operate as an ecosystem structured by matching individual needs to programs/services — detox, drug rehab, life skills, employment, mental health, etc. The culture needs to be one of movement and change while keeping its occupants safe. The city needs to allow experts in the field to develop the model.
What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?
There needs to be clarity as to what is acceptable and what isn’t. We need to be realistic that there are people who aren’t ready to change and create a safe community environment for them to be in until they are ready to move forward.
What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
District 7 has aging infrastructure that needs to be addressed. There are several flooding and drainage issues that need to be fixed along with the deterioration of Montgomery Pool. At the same time, we need to ensure that the local community centers and parks are modern and fully functional.
What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?
Albuquerque is uniquely diverse in its population. We need to pull together as a whole and celebrate our differences, remain curious and give each other grace. The city should provide safe family events, in turn bolstering local businesses and creating a sense of pride in our city.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
My real estate background plus my volunteer work with homelessness gives me a no-nonsense approach to solving issues with less regulation. My goal is to bring balance to the community, work together regardless of political affiliation and propel our citizens forward while creating a safe environment for all to thrive.
Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?
Common ground found through sincere communication is key to any long-term solution. We need to meet in the middle and work together as a cohesive unit to better Albuquerque. Respect for one another and our willingness to learn will be the strengths that move our city forward.
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?