Q&A: Democratic treasurer candidate Heather R. Benavidez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Democratic treasurer candidate Heather R. Benavidez

Heather R. Benavidez

NAME: Heather R. Benavidez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Chief of staff, N.M. State Treasurer’s Office

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Chief of staff, NMSTO, board member of the N.M. Small Business Investment Corporation; 20 years in state and local government: budgeting, accounting, auditing, and investing; former municipal judge (Rio Communities) and magistrate judge (Valencia County); Program management: Foreclosure Settlement Facilitation Program & ABLE New Mexico, accounts for persons with disabilities.

EDUCATION: Belen High School, 1996; B.A., political science/Spanish; Master of Public Administration (public management/public finance), University of New Mexico

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: HeatherforNM.com

1. What would be your top priorities as state treasurer?

Adhering to the investment principles of safety, liquidity and yield for the state’s money. I also look forward to sitting on the 12 boards and commissions, e.g., SIC, Board of Finance, MFA, ERB, and PERA to continue to promote solvency and transparency to benefit New Mexicans.

2. As a voting member of the State Investment Council, would you support or oppose taking more money from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood programs and K-12 education?

Investing in our children is always good policy. House Joint Resolution 1 passed the legislature in 2021 and a constitutional amendment will be on the ballot this November which if passed will increase the annual distribution to 6.25% (estimated $245.7 million) for early childhood education and public education.

3. Would you support or oppose the creation of a New Mexico public bank to make more funds available for lending?

HB75, Public Banking Act (2022, regular session) requires a $110 million appropriation from the general fund. The bill was tabled in January, but I look forward to working with the legislature and stakeholders statewide on 2023’s bill for this important legislation.

4. Do you support or oppose the New Mexico Work and Save Act that was approved in 2020? What changes, if any, do you believe should be made to the program?

All New Mexicans deserve access to retirement savings. When implemented in 2024, N.M. Work and Save will provide voluntary retirement programs, as well as financial education, to private sector and nonprofit employers/employees. The absence of an auto-enrollment requirement for certain employers poses a challenge to program effectiveness.

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? If so, explain.

No.

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