NAME: Michelle Sandoval
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Group administrator Los Alamos Labs
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Sandoval
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Previous Sandoval County employee and active community volunteer
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s in business administration from UNM
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: michellefornmhd57.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?
The Legislature should maintain the oil and natural gas industry while continuously diversifying our energy production capabilities. New Mexico should continue to be an energy haven and producer. We have energy, water and technology to utilize our resources to increase our production bandwidth and boost our economy and 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?
The laws need to absolutely be adjusted. New Mexico has some of the highest crime rates. More than 50% of crimes done in New Mexico are done by reoffenders that we allow by releasing them. Stopping crime starts at the Roundhouse.
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?
The Legislature should work on keeping offenders behind bars first and foremost and also fund behavioral health initiatives to keep offenders from reoffending. We also need to ensure we are funding public safety properly to have the right resources for protection.
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 support codifying abortion protections in state law. I oppose enacting any restrictions on abortion in New Mexico.
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 legislation that restricts AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon sales such as age-limit increases, behavioral and extensive background checks. I support legislation that makes it a crime to fail to safely secure a firearm. It is our duty to protect our children.
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?
I would support legislation that requires transparency with this department in all regards mandating case audits and public access to offenders while keeping defendants’ identities protected.
7. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Maintain the gross receipts tax code while inflation rates are adjusting and then revisit New Mexico’s options.
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?
Making legislator positions salaried is crucial to open up the pool of candidates who want to and would be able to run since there is compensation. New Mexicans can hold legislators more accountable as their time is paid for. If so, $40,000 is a baseline yearly salary.
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?
We need to restructure our education system and ensure we are being fair across the state especially in regards to non-English speakers. We need to allocate our state budgets accordingly and not only process allocation but follow up to ensure funding utilization is being properly utilized.
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 support the proposed constitutional amendment. Early childhood development is crucial for the long term growth of our state. There is also a lack of ability to return to work without childcare so funding this avenue will increase our overall employment rates and economy.
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 support the legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions but I feel that the state needs to structurally determine a step by step plan to get there. 2050 is only 28 years away and in order to achieve this the parties need to work together to make it realistic.
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 governor should maintain emergency power decisions, for example the ability to deploy the National Guard and to keep the state decisions uniform. Emergency situations need decisions made and need order so having that power maintained is crucial.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
I would be open to learning and understanding the way a merit-based evaluation system would work with capital outlay funding. I do believe we need to take steps to ensure that funding is being allocated accordingly, in a manner that helps the most citizens and justly.
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)
15. What changes, if any, would you support to New Mexico’s election laws?
I would support ensuring that our election processes continue to be as transparent and open to the public as they are. I also would support an increase in public notification and awareness of polling information, sites and dates for accountability purposes.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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.