Q&A: House District 51 Republican candidate Rachel Black - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 51 Republican candidate Rachel Black

NAME: Rachel Black

POLITICAL PARTY: Republican

OCCUPATION: Chief deputy treasurer

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Alamogordo

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 4 years, state representative, 15 years in county government

EDUCATION: Alamogordo High School, New Mexico State University

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: rachelblacknm.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?

Diversifying our economy is a phrase used often these days, and mostly by progressives wanting to end our reliance on the oil and gas industry. I think we can both diversify our economy and maintain our strong energy sector at the same time by reforming our out-of-date gross receipts tax system.

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, there is no excuse for the inaction by the progressive left concerning pretrial detention. I have been working with other members for years to change our bail system but the progressive majority refuses to keep these dangerous people behind bars. We must focus more on protecting our communities from violent offenders.

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

Tougher penalties for violent offenders. Ending our catch and release bail system.

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

We must broaden the base and lower the overall GRT rate. We must also eliminate tax pyramiding and reduce the personal income tax rate. If we want our state to move forward, we must undertake a serious and complete overhaul of our tax system and create one that drives entrepreneurship and job creation.

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 cannot have a serious discussion on a paid Legislature until New Mexicans see better results instead of the failures that the progressive majority has implemented for the past 90+ years of their one-party control in New Mexico. Taxpayers deserve to know that their funds are spent judiciously.

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?

Our current educational system essentially locks kids into failing situations. Until we change our constitution to truly give parents the freedom to educate their kids how they see fit, nothing will change. Throwing money at a problem without addressing the real cause is a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money.

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?

Just last year progressives increased the medical malpractice caps by over 400%. This results in consumers having to pay more for medical services and doctors having to pay more simply to work in New Mexico. Lowering malpractice insurance premiums would be a major step in encouraging health care professionals to locate in our state.

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?

Oppose. I do not support the proposed constitutional amendment because the Legislature has created a new early childhood education trust fund that will soon have billions of dollars in resources. Tapping the Land Grant Permanent Fund is unnecessary, but it will jeopardize our traditional K-12 funding.

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?

Oppose. We have already seen what the green agenda has done to our economy and cost of living. Private sector innovation is the best way to address environmental concerns, not government mandates.

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?

We must make sure that we are not limiting medical patients from accessing cannabis for their needs. I would also like to see us enhance law enforcement’s ability to detect drivers who are under the influence of cannabis.

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?

Had we known the governor would have abused these emergency powers, like she did during the pandemic, I do not believe the legislature would have granted her lone emergency powers. I have supported reining in her powers for the last two years and will continue to support that effort.

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?

More and more people are registering as independent. This should not preclude people from participating in our primary elections. We should encourage people to vote in a system that guarantees that results are true and honest. Eliminating election fraud should be a top priority,

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

Yes, our capital outlay system has resulted in too many projects left partially funded. I would however want to make sure that rural New Mexico is not shortchanged in any reform process before proceeding.

14. Do you support or oppose authorizing an independent redistricting commission perform the once-per-decade task of redrawing New Mexico’s political boundary lines?

Support. New Mexico is not unique to political gerrymandering and last December’s redistricting session confirmed what we all know — minority parties are completely left out of the process and districts are drawn to protect incumbents. I fully endorse an independent commission.

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? If so, explain.

No.

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