Q&A: House District 66 candidate Andrew Kennedy - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 66 candidate Andrew Kennedy

House District 66 candidate Andrew Kennedy (Courtesy Andrew Kennedy)

NAME: Andrew G. Kennedy

POLITICAL PARTY: Libertarian

OCCUPATION: Lease operator/rancher

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Loco Hills

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current elected Central Valley Soil and Water Conservation Board Supervisor, 10 years experience in business admin/operations (primarily agriculture and some oilfield)

EDUCATION: Some college — criminal justice major, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas

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?

Repealing many of the business licenses/registrations that the state requires would fast track many new business start-ups by New Mexicans and therefore increase the scope of the economy.

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, but only pertaining to objectively violent offenders who pose a clear threat to the community. Not to anyone else.

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?

New Mexico’s law enforcement resources should be dedicated to going after violent and property crime, not victimless crimes. If there’s even a single unsolved murder, missing child, or untested rape kit, all law enforcement resources should be allocated to solving those crimes rather than enforcing something such as cannabis grow/sales regulations.

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?

Prohibition doesn’t work, it never has and never will no matter what it’s targeting. We don’t need to stretch law enforcement even more thin than it already is. However, no taxpayer funds should be spent on abortions under any circumstances.

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 support the full repeal of all gun control laws and the nullification of federal gun control laws in New Mexico. The highest law in the land, the Constitution, has already made clear that all gun control laws are unlawful and our state government should follow that. Again, prohibition doesn’t work.

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?

Child abuse is a violent crime that every government official should be focused on preventing. We should increase both transparency and community involvement in efforts to prevent this horrific crime.

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

I would support the full repeal of the gross receipts tax and I would oppose replacing it with anything else, including a sales tax.

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 oppose even the per diem, I currently do not take the per diem offered by my Soil and Water Conservation Board supervisor office. All government positions should be completely volunteer, holding an office should be about making the world a better place rather than drawing a paycheck.

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?

Expanding school choice is a potential solution to this, if the funds allocated for education of a student were able to be directed by the student and their parents they would better be able to choose an education that fits them than the state government could.

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 oppose this. The land grant fund should be used for New Mexico’s lands, habitats, and pastures, it should not be a slush fund for other programs. We should reallocate funds from other areas of the budget for this.

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 would oppose. We should be concerned about both the carbon footprint and habitats/pastures of the state. The proposed plans for 2050 I have seen would create mandates/subsidies for solar/wind which over their lifetime cause more habitat destruction and have a higher end carbon footprint than oil/nuclear power.

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?

The governor’s office should hold no emergency powers whatsoever. If there’s an emergency, that’s what a special session of the Legislature is for.

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

Yes, we need to end the pork-barrel and other unnecessary spending that occurs all too frequently at the state level.

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?

I would support a repeal of petition requirements for candidates. As well as a change in Legislature districts, every county should receive two state House representatives and one state senator to allow rural New Mexico a voice.

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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