Q&A: House District 46 Democratic candidate Henry Roybal - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 46 Democratic candidate Henry Roybal

Henry Roybal

NAME: Henry Roybal

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: LANL subcontract management

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe (Pojoaque)

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Santa Fe County commissioner 7.3 years, local and federal government employee 26 years

EDUCATION: Pojoaque High School and electro-mechanical engineering design Northern New Mexico College

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: henryroybal.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 focus on our children’s education and opportunity. We need to invest in broadband infrastructure which will help with opportunity in both the rural and urban areas. Our biggest export is our talented home-grown New Mexicans. This needs to be changed as their innovative ideas will help grow our revenue base.

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?

Violent offenses always have a victim. A child should be in a safe place when it comes to adults, but we know that is not always true. I do believe the law should be changed to make it easier to hold individuals charged with violent offenses.

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

I believe people like to feel safe in their homes and out in the public. I know I do. We need to look at laws that do keep individuals that commit violent crimes time and time again behind bars. The key word is violent.

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

Our tax code is so convoluted plus gives tax breaks to so many different special interests who paid high profile lobbyists to help push their tax break through. We need to simplify the code plus make each special interest who has a tax break come in and justify their tax break.

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’m running for office to serve my district because I want a better opportunity for our youth, better infrastructure, safe communities and leaving the world in a good place for the next generation. I do not need to be paid to do so.

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?

We need to invest more in intervention at the K-3 grade levels. We need to double our efforts with teachers in this age group with smaller teacher to student ratios. If a child learns early on, the stigma of not knowing goes away and self confidence builds.

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 Mexico accepted the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare many years back which was good for the state. The problem is recently the legislature has increase malpractice limits on doctors and hospitals to benefit attorneys. This will be a limiting factor for attracting good doctors and nurses.

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?

These monies are from the Land Grant Permanent Fund. This fund is invested in the stock market and the state’s operating budget receives 5% every year from this fund. It works really well when the stock market is up. I’m glad there is a stop gap if the fund drops. I will support the amendment.

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 the federal government spending more money to do the research to get us to a carbon neutral environment. Every time this country has taken a serious approach to solving a problem it has been very successful. Think of putting a man on the moon. I support a carbon neutral environment.

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?

Because this law just went into effect 22 days ago, it is premature to suggest any changes to the law until we listen to people. We need to understand the rules that Regulation and Licensing is adopting and see if any of this needs legislation to clarify or correct.

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 believe any substantial federal funding that becomes available should be made by a body of representatives and not a single person. I think there needs to be some latitude for the governor to make decisions for public safety that does include monies to institute any orders.

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?

The largest growing registered voter is Declined to State, which is a tell tale of how unhappy people are with our two-party system. We land up isolating a large percentage of our electorate with our current law in primary elections. I would support opening the state’s primary elections to be more inclusive.

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

Yes, I would support a merit-based evaluation. Currently, our serving politicians use this “pork” to get votes and serve their friends in many cases.

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, I support this. However, this was recently passed and the redistricting commission recommended several maps which the Legislature ignored. I’m not sure why the law was passed so that the legislators could choose their voters. It should be that voters get to choose their legislators.

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?

Over 31 years ago when I was 21 years old I regretfully made the mistake of driving under the influence.

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