NAME: Peggy Muller-Aragón
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Retired teacher
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Mom, educator, APS Board vice president, Finance and Audit Committee chair, NALEO Board, NALEO Ed. Fund Board, NMBC Outstanding Public Official of the Year, 2018, Albuquerque Chamber Education Advocate of the Year, 2021
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in education, University of New Mexico, 1980, Master of Arts in education administration, UNM, 1990
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Peggyfornm.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?
The state GRT must be reformed. As quality education is an economic driver, it is essential we make education better. A successful economy is dependent on a high caliber education system.
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?
Yes, it should be easier to hold criminals until trial. Judges must be held accountable to the citizens of New Mexico.
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
It’s imperative we end catch and release and sanctuary city policies, reinstate qualified immunity, hold judges accountable, properly fund our police and our district attorneys across New Mexico.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
New Mexico’s pyramiding GRT should be replaced by a simple sales tax, which doesn’t punish our manufacturers and producers. If the GRT is replaced by a sales tax, it should be accompanied by a constitutional cap.
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?
I support a paid legislature. Legislative salaries should closely align to the salaries of county commissioners in Class A counties.
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?
Addressing the Yazzie/Martinez decision can be done by embedding tutoring programs in the school day, making the “first teach” the best teach, add school-wide enrichment at every elementary school, increase the number of teachers certified to teach a second language and provide broadband across every inch of New Mexico.
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?
We should have an in-state WICHE type program for all health care professionals. Expand health care programs at all our public universities.
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?
I oppose increasing withdrawals from the state Permanent Fund. I support preserving the integrity of the corpus of this fund for future generations.
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?
I am in favor of caring for our environment, but we cannot kill the oil and gas industry without an affordable and viable replacement. In achieving our environmental goals we cannot allow politicians to pick winners or losers, the citizens must be the ultimate arbiter.
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?
We should allow the cannabis law to operate as it is currently constituted, to collect measurable data before making any changes. The gathered data will reveal what adjustments to the law are necessary.
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?
No governor should have unfettered powers without being checked by the legislature. Emergency powers should not be extended beyond 30 days without legislative approval and should require a two-thirds super majority for an extension.
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?
Voter ID is needed for voters to gain confidence in the election system. Primaries are a party function and should be left as such.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
I support absolute transparency and accountability in how taxpayer money is being spent.
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?
Yes, I support an independent redistricting commission so long as it is required that one of the commission’s recommendations be adopted, without amendments made by the legislature (we can’t allow the gerrymandering that occurred in 2021).
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
No, however my husband’s firm had a lien over a decade ago. The lien was fully satisfied.
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.
Other than parking tickets and a few minor moving violations, no.