Q&A: House District 19 Democratic candidate Janelle Anyanonu - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 19 Democratic candidate Janelle Anyanonu

Janelle Anyanonu

NAME: Janelle Anyanonu

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Office manager

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I am a graduate of Emerge New Mexico (2020), a member of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee, and I have twice served on the State Central Committee for the Democratic Party.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: janellefornewmexico.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?

First, we must put a greater percentage of oil and gas royalties in reserve to help alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels. Second, we must diversify our economy with an emphasis on industries like film, eco-tourism, and cannabis to avoid the boom-bust cycle of oil and gas.

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?

I support all constitutionally-sound, data-driven public safety legislation, especially legislation that would keep people who are a danger or a flight risk behind bars.

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

Our police forces are spread paper-thin. We cannot expect our officers to be police, therapists, and mediators. I support the creation and expansion of programs beyond our police and first responders to handle urgent but nonviolent calls especially where behavioral health and addiction are concerned.

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

The gross receipts tax code should be simplified and streamlined. We need to make compliance with all of our tax laws easy for small businesses. I also support shifting some of our budgetary reliance away from GRT to a more progressive income 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?

I support a salaried Legislature. Otherwise, we restrict the pool of people who could ever run for office. Working people deserve the opportunity to serve in the Legislature, too. Like all New Mexicans, legislators should make a living wage. An appropriate salary should be set by voters, and not legislators.

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?

The amendment to increase funding for early childhood education is a good start. However, the state is still failing its students. New Mexico needs to meet our children where they are. This means ease of access to early childhood programs for non-English speaking families.

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?

New Mexicans deserve the best care available. We have a wonderful teaching hospital, but we struggle to keep talent in state. We must offer health care workers competitive pay to make our state a more attractive place to come, and a more attractive place to stay after medical school.

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 the amendment to allocate money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to funding early childhood development. However, funding cannot only go to schools and government run child care programs. It must include in-home facilities. Programs must be multicultural and multilingual for all New Mexico’s children to benefit.

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 works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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?

I do not support altering the cannabis tax structure until we understand the results from the present tax. It is important that cannabis sales contribute to our tax base, but it is also important that we do not implement a tax structure that may drive people to underground 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?

I am proud of the hard decisions that our governor made to help keep New Mexicans safe during a pandemic. I believe that current law allows the governor the latitude needed to make important decisions even if those decisions are unpopular.

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 the introduction of same-day registration on Election Day. Our democracy works best when everyone has a voice. I do not support open primaries. Each party should be free to choose the candidate of its choice.

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

I am willing to consider legislation to make sure that capital outlay funding is managed in a fiscally sound manner. I would support a merit-based system to determine how capital outlay is spent if real data supports 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?

I support outlawing gerrymandering across the U.S. I also believe that the public must have a say in the drawing of districts. I also believe the Legislature plays an important role in the process.

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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