NAME: Art De La Cruz
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I have 48 years of service directly working for city and county government, notably as a director, deputy director and manager. In addition, I was adjunct faculty at Central New Mexico Community College. I served two terms as a Bernalillo County commissioner. Lastly, I was appointed twice by the Bernalillo County Commission to fill vacant spots as the legislator in House District 12, and now have experience as a legislator.
EDUCATION: I hold both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: artdelacruz.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?
Improve state economic development efforts and continue to bring new business into our state. Ensure that our military bases and labs are welcomed, supported and expanded. Align New Mexico’s business taxes to compete with surrounding states, allowing us to be competitive.
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?
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
Enact common sense gun control measures: i.e., background checks, all gun sales. Firearms must be kept locked and secure. Enact law for judges to hold individuals charged with violent offenses until trial. Enhance education for children to better understand the danger of illegal drug use and consequences of a life of crime.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Reestablish food tax and use tax revenue to feed food-insecure families.
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 salaried Legislature. Legislator pay should be consistent with pay/practices of like states.
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?
New Mexico must determine best practices by researching the success of other states and enact those practices in categories we are deficient in.
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?
Medical systems must follow successful business practices. Allow health care workers, doctors and nurses to work with patients to make better decisions which in turn affects controlling costs overall. Preventative care should be rewarded. Control administration overhead and profit, legislation can help. Add more medical education venues at low cost.
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 support using only the interest earned on the permanent fund.
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?
Yes, I support legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the state to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
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?
No changes at this time because we need to have at least a year to ascertain the deficiencies and strengths in the law.
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 changes to the governor’s powers as long as they do not usurp the Legislature’s constitutional authority.
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?
I support opening the state’s primary system to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Yes, I support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding with exception to smaller House and Senate capital appropriations. Representatives and senators have a grasp of their district needs and should be allowed to fund minor projects.
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 authorizing an independent redistricting commission to perform the once-per-decade task of redrawing New Mexico’s political boundary lines. However, this should be a national initiative as there continues to be gerrymandering in other states.
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.