NAME: Colton R. Dean
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Sterile processing technician/paramedic
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Democratic Ward chair for Bernalillo County 19b. Member of the Democratic Party State Central Committee.
EDUCATION: B.A. film and video production (2005) Brooks Institute of Photography. Associate of Applied Sciences in Emergency Medicine (2015) Central New Mexico Community College.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: DeanFor19.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?
Invest in solar, wind, and battery storage. Combined with smart meter and smart grid technology, individuals who store excess energy in low demand times then resell it to the grid in high demand times would create two opportunities for the state to collect revenue on the transactions.
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?
Suspects of violent crimes, especially those with a history of violence, should be held until trial. Legislators cannot foresee every possibility, that’s why we need arraignment judges to determine on a case-by-case basis whether suspects should be released on bail or not.
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
Legislators should fund the support programs that address the negative circumstances that lead to crime. Adequate staffing and resources are needed for housing, drug and alcohol rehab, and metal health services so that crime becomes a less likely option.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
I have no suggestions to change the GRT code at this time.
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 full-time paid Legislature, and lowering the voting threshold for extraordinary sessions from 3/5 to 50% plus one of both House and Senate. Salaries should be determined by a nonpartisan independent committee, and should approximate the average New Mexico household income.
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?
Article 12, Section 10 of the New Mexico Constitution guarantees the right of an equal education to children of Spanish descent. I suggest we amend the state constitution to include Native American children, and all non-English speaking students.
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?
We must support adults returning to school retaining for new careers. Many people in mid-life are unable to stop working for two years for a new degree without incurring tremendous debt. Free tuition is the first step, but I would like to see assistance for people in degree programs.
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 fully support the proposed constitutional amendment to fund early childhood 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 support legislation that limits greenhouse gas emissions so long as it provides benchmarks in five-year increments. We must also include necessary enforcement if those benchmarks aren’t met.
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?
Priority for medical cannabis must be protected. This includes price protection so medical patients aren’t overcharged for their medicine if recreational demand affects supply.
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?
Every emergency is different, and requires case-by-case evaluation. Balancing the power of the governor can be achieved with a full-time paid Legislature, the ability to call itself into extraordinary session with 50% plus one.
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 believe we need a combination of ranked choice voting, publicly financed campaigns, and open primaries to encourage as much participation in the electoral process as possible. And to reduce the incentive candidates have to demonize their opponents.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
I would support a standardized transparent process that allows community input to inform representatives and senators of the needs of their communities. But also allow representatives and senators to help other communities as long as the same process is followed.
14. Do you support or oppose authorizing an independent redistricting commission to perform the onceper-decade task of redrawing New Mexico’s political boundary lines?
I support a constitutional amendment to make sure redistricting in 2031 and beyond is done by an independent redistricting commission.
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.