Q&A: House District 68 candidate Charlotte Little - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 68 candidate Charlotte Little

House District 68 candidate Charlotte Little (Courtesy Charlotte Little)

NAME: Charlotte Little

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Deputy director, Naeva

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: For 15 years, I have owned my own small business; served as a tribal administrator; and worked as an administrative officer for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. I have served New Mexicans through my work as vice-chair of New Mexico Voices for Children, president of Emerge New Mexico, and chair of the San Felipe Pueblo Health Board.

EDUCATION: B.A., University of New Mexico, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: charlottelittleHD68.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?

Our state is on the right track to diversify our economy, with film, tourism, cannabis, and renewable energy. We can create new revenue by also repealing the tax cut for the wealthiest New Mexicans and repealing the capital gains tax cut.

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?

Our country is still based on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. I trust our current system, where judges maintain discretion to assess each defendant on their merits and relevant history.

3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety as New Mexico faces one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation?

Some of the biggest root causes of crime are poverty, mental illness and addiction. We need more children in early childhood education programs like Pre-K, more treatment beds and programs for mental health and addiction, and more positive engagement by parents and family members in the home.

4. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, do you support or oppose codifying abortion protections in state law? And do you support or oppose enacting any restrictions on abortion in New Mexico?

I strongly support codifying abortion protections in state law and strongly oppose any restrictions on abortion in New Mexico, both for women from here and for women traveling here from other states for health care.

5. New Mexico has already implemented several gun control laws in recent years. Would you support or oppose legislation that banned or restricted the sale of AR-15-style semi-automatic weapons, such as raising the age limit for purchasing such weapons? And what about legislation making it a crime to fail to safely secure firearms around children?

I strongly support a ban on assault weapons and making it a crime not to safely secure firearms around children. I also support sensible measures like red flag laws, a ban on ghost guns, and preventing domestic abusers from owning a gun.

6. The state agency tasked with keeping New Mexico children safe has faced recent scrutiny over transparency issues and its handling of high-profile child abuse cases. What changes would you support to improve the operations of the Children, Youth and Families Department?

Most state departments, which were dramatically cut during the Martinez era, need increased staffing. This shortage is especially dire for agencies like CYFD that address such grave matters as child abuse that involve child welfare, family dynamics, complex legal rules, and myriad social service agencies.

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

The gross receipts tax is perhaps New Mexico’s most regressive tax. I would support reducing the gross receipts tax, eliminating loopholes and exemptions to it, and then make up the lost revenue by repealing the tax cut on the wealthy and the capital gains tax cut.

8. 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 absolutely support a paid Legislature, which would make the legislative body more representative of the diversity of our state. I support the notion of creating a commission to determine a salary that makes sense for our state’s range of wages.

9. 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?

As a member of San Felipe Pueblo, I have worked hard on this issue. The Legislature has made dramatic improvements in educator salaries and funding for schools, from Pre-K to college. We now need to address the teacher shortage and continue to promote first language learning, especially for tribal students.

10. 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 strongly support the constitutional amendment and urge voters to vote yes.

11. 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 strongly support this measure. We must act with great urgency to reduce the impacts of climate change.

12. 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 the current system strikes the right balance between executive and legislative power.

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

I strongly support making capital outlay fully transparent. I do not think a merit-based system would be workable however. Lawmakers know the needs of their own community the best and should be able to make decisions on capital outlay that are responsive to those needs.

14. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election? (Yes or No answer only, please)

No.

15. What changes, if any, would you support to New Mexico’s election laws?

The most important changes we can make right now are to secure the safety of election workers, who face more and more harassment for helping to make our democracy work. I also support efforts to make it easier for New Mexicans to vote early, absentee, or on election day.

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?

When my husband and I started our small business 26 years ago, we were new business owners and did not understand our tax obligations. We paid off the taxes we owed, took full responsibility for our mistake, and have had a clean bill of financial health since taking action.

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. Sadly, I lost one brother to a drunk driver over a decade ago.

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