Q&A: House District 17 Republican candidate Ellis McMath - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 17 Republican candidate Ellis McMath

Ellis McMath

NAME: Ellis McMath


OCCUPATION: Concealed carry firearms instructor


RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Albuquerque reserve police officer; decorated Vietnam Navy veteran; New Mexico State University commercial pilot; FAA air traffic controller; founder and director of a nonprofit organization

EDUCATION: Eastern New Mexico University; Seven Bar Flight School; Navy Whidbey Island Flight School; FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy; Albuquerque Bible College; Albuquerque Police Academy; Rio Grande High School


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?

As a legislator I support changes that would foster a people friendly, business friendly atmosphere. For our state to thrive we need a happy, healthy workforce. This would include right-to-work laws, phasing out personal income tax and reforming our bizarre gross receipts tax code.

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. Our law enforcement officers are our true modern-day heroes. Without them our Land of Enchantment would spiral to chaos. Our streets and freeways have become unsafe. Law enforcement officials are frustrated having to rearrest violent offenders.

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

As a retired Albuquerque police reserve officer I have insight into what makes criminals fear. My experience can help sculpture legislation in mandating sentencing lengths and systemic reforms to the judicial election process.

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

Excellent question. First, eliminate exemptions for special interests. Second, lower the rate. Next, eliminate tax on business services. It is not right that an in-state bookkeeper is forced to charge clients 7.875% when an out of state business can provide the service without charging gross receipts tax.

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?

Our Legislature needs to be modernized. There is a conflict of interest when our current “volunteer” legislators are crafting legislation that affects their business. Also, many qualified lawmakers resign or do not run for office as they are not able to support their families. Someone once said, “We limit who can serve to the rich or retired.”

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?

Giving parents control of education dollars will go a long way to improve the quality of education and requiring school accountability. Parents should have the freedom to send their child to a school of their choice, private or public. Money should be attached to the student not buildings or bloated administrations.

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?

The vaccine mandate has chased hundreds of health-care professionals out of our great state, impacting our quality of care. Trial lawyers’ influence over the legislative process on recent changes in litigation will soon send more fleeing. Fact check HB75. As your legislator, I would support policy to stop the mass exit.

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 efforts to fund the home visiting part of the program from the general fund. These programs have proven to be the most effective in improving outcomes for our young people. However, government run pre-K programs are subject to indoctrination tactics like critical race theory. The permanent fund should remain as the founders intended, permanent.

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?

Electric cars, solar and wind power are exciting, new technologies, however, they have their own environmental impacts that need consideration. CO2 emissions can be reduced using nuclear and natural gas to produce electrical power to keep the lights on at an affordable cost. Trying to achieve net-zero emissions ahead of reason could spell calamity.

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?

As a legislator I would be interested in a study of any increased health costs, traffic accidents, work productivity or criminal activity associated with recreational cannabis sales.

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?

The term “emergency” must be defined clearly in the law. The governor’s emergency powers should be limited to 30 days unless extended by the legislature. Our New Mexico and U.S. Constitutions mandate certain freedoms that should not be taken away.

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?

Many New Mexico voters feel disenfranchised due to one party dominance in their House and Senate districts. I would entertain a study on the pros and cons of open primary elections. Also, citizens should have utmost confidence in election integrity. I support voter ID.

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

I do not support a merit-based system.

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?

It seems evident that the party in power will manipulate political boundary lines for their benefit. I support authorizing an independent redistricting commission the task of deciding political boundaries.

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 Republican candidate Ellis McMath

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