NAME: Robert S. Godshall
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Retired from the Department of Homeland Security
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 28 years law enforcement, small business owner, political activism in the community.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UNM in 1979.
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?
It is an economic mistake to rely too much on one industry. Creating a more business friendly state would encourage enterprise to move here, and entrepreneurs to stay here. A more fair tax system, an improved education system and a less regulated economy would increase prosperity in our state.
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?
New Mexico needs to avoid using behavior predicting pseudo-science like the Arnold Tool for determining when an offender is a danger to the community. If that takes legislation, the Legislature can certainly determine that certain violent crimes require detention absent a convincing argument to the contrary.
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
The Legislature cannot change the emergence of such office holders as Tim Keller of Albuquerque that are publicly hostile to law enforcement. The Legislature could, however, prevent the existence of immigrant friendly cities that allow criminal foreign nationals to avoid investigation and prosecution by Homeland Security.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
As one of only two states to use the gross receipts tax, New Mexico has largely discouraged business from moving here and has reduced tax revenue because so many exemptions to the tax exist. I prefer a sales tax that is lower and spread out among more contributors.
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?
As an aspiring legislator and as someone that does not need to be paid, I do not have an opinion on this question. I am concerned, however, that once legislators get paid they will increase their pay whenever they want and I am opposed to that.
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 state’s leaders have failed to deliver quality education to all our children for many years. We can create a more competitive education environment by having the money follow the student, rather than the system, to be spent where the student wants. School choice is what our citizens want.
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 need to think of health care as a product and a service. The free market has proven, time and again, to be the most efficient and cost effective method for delivering goods and services to our citizens. Government interference created this shortage and the market can end it.
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 am not in favor of any plan to withdraw more money from the state’s permanent fund. Given that our education system is failing our current students now, we should work at fixing our system and not spending more money.
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 think we have the technological capability to create energy sources that will generate much less pollution in the future and we do not need legislation giving the government more power in this area.
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 did not favor legalizing cannabis sales and we will now have to evaluate cannabis use and its impact before making any adjustments. I am concerned that cannabis advocacy groups will point to the generated revenue as an excuse to overlook any negative repercussions that cannabis use brings to society.
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?
This governor demonstrated that an executive can have and use too much power when it comes to an emergency situation. The governor’s authority should be for a temporary period that should be superseded by subsequent legislation so that the people have a voice in such an important decision.
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?
Citizens of all beliefs and ideologies need to be confident that elections are fair and accurate. Accurate voter records and verifiable voters are essential to election integrity. I oppose opening the primary system because the members of a political party should be the ones selecting their nominee.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Capital project spending should be as transparent as possible regardless of the method utilized. Holding legislators accountable for how they spend money is just as important as the system used to spend it.
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?
Redistricting political boundaries is an imperfect process and the creation of an independent commission is not necessarily a solution. The commission can make the same mistakes as any other body and, being independent, there is little or no accountability to the voters if they get it wrong.
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.