Q&A: House District 17 Democratic candidate Darrell Deaguero - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 17 Democratic candidate Darrell Deaguero

Darrell Deaguero

NAME: Darrell Deaguero


OCCUPATION: President, LiUNA Local 16


RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Labor leader with many years of experience working with the Legislature.

EDUCATION: Graduate of Farmington High, attended San Juan College but did not complete a degree.

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: darrellfornm.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?

We must diversify our economy by continuing supporting growth industries like cannabis, film, renewable energy, and outdoor recreation. We must also build a fairer and more equitable tax code by increasing the corporate tax rate, repealing the tax cut for the wealthiest New Mexicans, and the capital gains tax cuts.

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?

Innocent until proven guilty is the bedrock of our judicial system. We must be thoughtful when holding someone behind bars before trial, with decisions reviewed on a case-by-case basis and a rigorous threshold for detainment, such as a violent criminal history or evidence that they will continue to commit crimes.

3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?

We must fully fund and staff our police, fire, and EMT services while also making sure we have social workers and mental health experts available to accompany our first responders on nonviolent calls. We must focus on reducing poverty and substance abuse in order to reduce crime.

4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

New Mexico needs to build a fairer and more equitable tax code. The gross receipts tax is regressive. It needs to be lowered and its loopholes need to be closed. The difference in revenue can be made up with a more progressive tax code.

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?

The Legislature is meant to be a representative body, but the current compensation structure for legislators means only those who can afford to do these jobs can serve. We need to properly compensate our representatives with a living wage so that no working New Mexican is barred from holding office.

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 has increased teacher salaries to retain and attract talented staff and funded early childhood education, but we still have more to do. As Yazzie v. Martinez showed, it’s our most disadvantaged children who need our help, and the Legislature must ensure these children are not left behind.

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?

Every New Mexican deserves quality, affordable health care. We must lower the cost of prescription drugs and decouple health insurance from employment, enacting real health care reform like Medicare for All. We must also offer competitive salaries to our health care workers, just as we have recently done with educators.

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 strongly support the constitutional amendment to leverage the Land Grant Permanent School Fund and increase funding for our children’s education.

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 strongly support legislation that addresses climate change and requires the state to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. As a labor leader, however, I will always prioritize workers and will work to ensure that any legislation that displaces hard working New Mexicans offers solutions that addresses their needs.

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?

Regulating and taxing cannabis was an important step to diversifying New Mexico’s economy. However, we need to make sure we’re prioritizing our local small businesses and giving them a chance to compete with the larger national retailers that are quickly coming to dominate the sector.

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, I believe the current system worked, and is working, as intended.

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?

New Mexico has some of the most secure elections in the country, but in order to increase participation, we must push for automatic mail ballots and drop boxes for absentee voting. I also support opening our primary elections, giving as many New Mexicans as possible a voice in the process.

13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?

While I would consider a merit-based evaluation system, I am concerned that implementation would be extremely difficult if not impossible. Rather, I strongly support making the capital outlay process fully transparent, so our constituents can see what resources are going where, and how they got there.

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?

Now that New Mexico’s Citizens Redistricting Commission has completed its work, I would call the process a success. The final maps turned out either identical or only slightly modified from those proposed by the commission and are fair and just. I would support authorizing the committee in the future.

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?


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.


Home » 2022 election » Q&A: House District 17 Democratic candidate Darrell Deaguero

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Walmart near Highland High School to close next month
ABQnews Seeker
The roughly 287 employees who work ... The roughly 287 employees who work at the store are eligible for transfers to nearby Walmart locations, the company said.
House committee endorses automatic voter registration in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
In-person transactions at MVD offices would ... In-person transactions at MVD offices would register new voters, and Election Day would be a school holiday
From piñon to petrichor: 4 aromas that define Albuquerque ...
ABQnews Seeker
A group of Las Cruces fifth ... A group of Las Cruces fifth graders recently pitched a bill that would name the scent of roasting green chile the official state smell. ...
Police investigating death in International District apartment complex
ABQnews Seeker
Homicide detectives have been called out ... Homicide detectives have been called out to the scene.
'The Locksmith' director Nicolas Harvard talks time in Las ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nicolas Harvard was familiar with New ... Nicolas Harvard was familiar with New Mexico before he was at the helm of 'The Locksmith.' The filmmaker had worked in the state on ...
Emptying the Notebook: Lobos losing 3-point battle every night ...
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, quotes and analysis ... Some extra notes, quotes and analysis from Tuesday night's UNM Lobos loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Pit.
DNA links deceased New Mexico musician to three sexual ...
ABQnews Seeker
Investigators have linked three decades-old sexual ... Investigators have linked three decades-old sexual assaults in Alabama and Colorado to a Jemez Springs man known in New Mexico as the longtime director ...
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
‘We love you boys’: Friends mourn three teens who ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Moriarty High School community gathered ... The Moriarty High School community gathered to mourn the loss of three sophomore students who died during a sleepover Saturday in Edgewood. Authorities suspect ...
AR-15 ban, waiting period advance at New Mexico Capitol
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Lujan Grisham praises proposed ban ... Gov. Lujan Grisham praises proposed ban on 'assault weapons' in New Mexico