Q&A: House District 42 Democratic candidate Florence Miera - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 42 Democratic candidate Florence Miera

Florence Miera

NAME: Florence Miera

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Clinical social worker

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Taos

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 2004 Office of The Governor, constituent services, supervisor Becky Gear (intern B.A. SW) Office of The Governor, crime policy advisor, Bob Swartz supervisor (M.A. intern)

EDUCATION: A.A. in human services, B.A. in social work, M.A. in community organizing and administrative practices

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: florencemierataos.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?

They have taken the first step with legalization of marijuana. Encourage and support new business to support open shop in District 42; it is well known that small business goes back to the community. Simultaneously diversify the economic growth, from food production, farming, ranching and partner with solar and wind energy to support local colleges to build homes that are energy efficient.

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. The judicial system has been broken for many years, I am committed to sit down with all stakeholders and work on making the changes so that our children and the community is a safe place to live. I will advocate for more resources for nonviolent crimes to help break the cycles of repeat offenders.

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

Prevention is always key. Provide resources for programing and educational opportunities, giving them a chance to turn themselves around. Make sure that the prisons are preparing the violent criminal for release. Intervention programs to address the trauma. One-hundred percent community in place to address the trauma and help people to become productive citizens.

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

I believe some adjustments can be made, specifically to assist small business. We should work together to address the local government and produce a solution that does not continue to hurt small business but also does not interfere with the ability to operate local government. The impact of paying so much when you are the little guy.

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?

Yes, New Mexico needs to have a legislator that works year around to address the pressing issues of the state. It is difficult to address education, crime, economic insecurities, and the state budget in a 30- or 60-day session. NM will continue to fail if we do not invest more time. I do applaud the Legislators for their dedication in the time they are given.

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 do not speak English as a first language?

The most important thing we can do is educate all children early. Help the parents, grandparents, and caretaker of the Native American, English language learners understand how important early education/behavioral intervention is on the young developing mind. Then make sure that all of them have equal opportunity to attend college; whether academic or skill-based learning.

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?

Treat people with respect, make it a win-win. Listen to all involved. COVID has impacted our health system in so many ways. The staff is overworked and underpaid for the trauma they have endured. We will need to bring all stakeholders to the table for an honest conversation about how to support the staff, patients and the community.

8. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten, and childcare 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 completely support prevention to benefit them later in life, we will have a healthier New Mexico if we focus on the children.

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 do support transition, however not at the risk of forgetting the people of New Mexico. If most of the funding is going toward green and the only ones supporting the education system and mental health issues is gas and oil; we need to transition and speak honestly about the people who are dying daily due to COVID, hunger, substance use and trauma related issues.

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?

Need to look at this further to understand the impact on the communities and how much will go back to the communities.

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 do not believe any changes should be made.

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 are not affiliated with either major political party?

Yes, every voice should be heard.

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

Yes, it would allow us to work more closely with local government and other stakeholders to fully fund projects in the communities and the taxpayer money is used properly.

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?

Yes, it takes out the politics.

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?

Yes, I filed personal bankruptcy in my 20’s.

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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