NAME: Joseph L. Sanchez
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Electrical engineer
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Alcalde
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former state representative District-40, former vice-chair House Appropriations and Finance Committee
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico, and Masterof Business Administration from New Mexico State University
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: josephsanchezfornm.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 need to eliminate the barriers to doing business in New Mexico by simplifying everywhere we can. In addition, we should expand our economy by becoming a hydrogen hub while working to make renewable energy a bigger piece of the economic picture.
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?
Crime is out of control. We need to change our laws to keep criminals behind bars while putting in place programs that reduce the recidivism rate. In addition, we need to hold our judges accountable for the actions they take.
3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?
Many of our crime problems can be solved by improving our economy and our education system while providing more opportunities for our children. In the short term we need more police on our streets and we need to hold criminals accountable for their actions.
4. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Tax pyramiding under the GRT needs to end. In addition, we should end many of the exemptions and deductions under our current system to expand the tax base. Ultimately ending the gross receipts tax by finding consensus on the best replacement is necessary.
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?
We need to put this issue to a vote of the citizens to determine if legislators will be paid and what they will be paid. Having a salary in place for legislators may attract more people to run for office knowing they will be compensated for their time.
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?
Schools must receive adequate funding while students learn in facilities that are conducive to quality education. This is especially true for schools that serve Native American and ESL populations. These students deserve to have a quality education and to stop being overlooked by the adults running the system.
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 should be making structural and regulatory changes to our health care system to allow for additional practitioners to come to the state. Reducing the time to receive a license is needed. We must open licensing reciprocity for professionals coming from other states to make it easier to attract talent.
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 early childhood programs because they are important to the development of our children. The withdrawals come with protections to ensure the fund does not ever go away while providing a system to give our children the best possible start to their 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 well thought out legislation arrived at through a collaborative process, done responsibly, and that will not raise rates on New Mexicans, a majority of whom are some of the poorest in the country. We can protect the climate while taking care of our family, friends and neighbors.
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?
Cannabis microbusinesses promise to help those who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs as well as minority communities. The micro retailers must be allowed to sell products that other cannabis producers manufacture or grow, not just their own.
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?
We are two coequal branches of government and no one branch should have more power than the other. Emergency powers that are granted by law should face careful scrutiny by the Legislature to see if they are effective, too broad reaching, and are detrimental to our way of life.
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 fully support open primaries. With closed primaries we often see the extremes of both parties represented at the ballot box moving into the general election. Closed primaries do not serve the best interests of New Mexicans.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Our capital outlay system is broken. This type of proposal needs to be looked into closely. My concern is that big cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe will benefit more than rural areas if this is not done correctly.
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 a truly independent redistricting commission. The commission must be free of politicians and politics with members selected from the general public through some type of application process.
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.
Approximately 12 years ago, I failed to appear in connection with a routine traffic citation in Santa Fe. I was subsequently charged with failing to appear. After appearing on this charge, the matter was resolved, and charges dismissed.