NAME: Jay C. Block
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Nuclear consultant and county commissioner
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Rio Rancho
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force, leader in private industry and county commissioner
EDUCATION: B.S. and M.S.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: blockfornewmexico.com
1. 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 Legislature take to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?
To diversify business in our state, it’s simple, we make it easier to do business here. Start by lifting unnecessary and overburdensome economic regulations, and lowering taxes on businesses. Specifically, we should eliminate the gross receipts tax, which is an inefficient and economically destructive tax.
2. During the last regular legislative session, there was an unsuccessful push to make it easier to keep certain defendants behind bars until trial. Should New Mexico law be changed to make it easier to hold individuals charged with violent offenses such as murder and first-degree child abuse behind bars until trial?
Everyone is entitled due process. A judge should determine if a defendant is a risk to others and hold them until trial. The legislative trend toward cashless bail is disturbing and enabled record crime to our communities since we eliminated most bail. Huge mistake putting the public at risk.
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
We must support law enforcement by providing premier training and funding. We must partner with multiple levels of law enforcement and be tough on crime by defending, not defunding police. We need bail and we must have well-paid officers to attract the best and brightest in the country.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Eliminate it. There is no good reason for a gross receipts tax. None. It hurts small businesses over big business and places our small businesses at a disadvantage over neighboring states who do not have GRT.
5. New Mexico is currently the only state that does not pay its legislators a salary, though lawmakers do get per diem payments and can qualify for a legislative pension. Do you support or oppose a salaried Legislature and, if so, how much should lawmakers be paid?
While in theory, a citizen legislature is ideal, unfortunately having unpaid legislators results in only the wealthy being able to afford to be in office. I would be open to paying legislators a fair wage to attract common sense middle class New Mexicans.
6. 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, especially Native Americans and those who don’t speak English as a first language?
We must support home school parents, all parents and school choice. Many lower income families want school choice and should not be forced to put their children in failing schools. Bottom line, the money must follow the children. The current status quo is unacceptable.
7. What should be the priority as New Mexico seeks to strengthen its health care system? How should the state address a shortage of nurses and other health care workers?
As governor, no New Mexicans will ever travel across state lines for treatment. I will never fire health care workers for not getting a vaccine, there is a severe shortage already. The governor firing these heroes made a bad situation worse. We must implement medical tort reform to attract medical professionals.
8. 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 the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would withdraw more money from the state’s permanent school fund to increase funding for early childhood services and K-12 education?
No, I do not. These programs are not helping our children’s performance in schools and wasting a lot of our tax money. I’d like to see more funding for drug and mental health treatment to help reduce crime and homelessness.
9. In order to address climate change and air quality issues, do you support or oppose legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the state achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?
No. We see the damage these radical laws are causing by putting people out of work and raising utility costs. These regulations kill jobs for no real reason. Oil and gas is one of the most regulated industries already and we must be energy independent.
10. New Mexico recently became the 17th state to regulate and tax recreational cannabis sales? What, if any, changes do you believe should be made to the existing law?
I would like to see it regulated at the local level instead of the state forcing municipalities to accept it. As a county commissioner, I have been dealing with local governments struggling to comply with the law because it contradicts some zoning regulations affecting home prices.
11. 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?
While there may be situations to declare a state of emergency, we must have checks and balances. Extending these emergency powers belongs to the Legislature and I will sign a bill that provides for these checks and balances. We have seen the disastrous consequences when one person controls everything.
12. 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 must pass voter ID. However, we must go further with elections, we need to get rid of electronic voting machines, especially ones with histories of issues, and use watermarked ballots that are impossible to counterfeit. Open primaries are critical. I want DTS to participate in all primary elections.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Yes, every program needs to illustrate why it deserves taxpayer money by providing performance merits to show the public the benefits of the program or project.
14. Do you support or oppose authorizing an independent redistricting commission to perform the once-per-decade task of redrawing New Mexico’s political boundary lines?
I would and have accomplished this in Sandoval County working with Republicans and Democrats to implement new districts that are fair.
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? If so, explain.