Q&A: House District 44 candidate Kathleen Cates - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 44 candidate Kathleen Cates

House District 44 candidate Kathleen Cates (Courtesy Kathleen Cates)

NAME: Kathleen M. Cates

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Realtor

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Rio Rancho

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Advocating for individuals with disabilities to legislators and elected officials regarding accessibility, funding and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Successfully owned or operated nonprofits (with as many as 190 employees) and small businesses; mother of two, leader in my community through civic organizations, nonprofit CEO, booster parent and engaged citizen.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, completed all course work for Master of Public Administration with a budget/finance concentration.

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: VoteforKathleen.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?

A principle of business is to diversify the revenue stream. New Mexico remains vulnerable because we only rely on oil, gas and timber. New Mexico can be the innovators and model for wind and solar farms. We can capitalize on our diverse landscapes to be used in the film and hospitality industries.

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?

Judges already have the authority to detain defendants without bail and/or to impose high bail levels. We need to elect judges who will consider the people before the defendants.

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?

Community policing models are needed in New Mexico but especially in urban areas. The community policing model is not just about police officers but should include dispatchers, prosecutors, judges, paramedics, trauma experts and mental health experts. The Legislature should provide funding for team training methods and retention for law enforcement officers.

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 trust women. Their health care needs and lifelong decision to become or not become a parent is their decision alone. I support codification. We cannot rely on the political whims of different governors and must provide a certainty for women. I do not see the need for any restrictions.

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?

Banning war weapons needs to be done on the federal level. It should be a crime if adults do not properly secure firearms.

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?

A quality control process is needed to create documented accountable processes. There are several programs that can be used but they will require a quality control department that does not report directly to CYFD.

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

No longer tax baby diapers. We already stopped taxing adult diapers. Removing the tax will help address this very difficult challenge. There are too many corporate exemptions.

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 support a salaried Legislature. Currently, the governor and lobbyists have too much power since legislators have limited resources. As to an amount, we need to look at funding staff for legislators, as well as a legislator’s salary. The numbers need to be derived by a comprehensive study.

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?

It is important that individuals and educators from all rural areas and tribal lands must be at the table to make these plans and decisions. Making decisions at the Roundhouse without consulting the people they affect is ineffective and inefficient.

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?

Support — proudly.

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 have to review all specific legislation before committing my support but climate change is real. We can grow our economy and protect our environment. Climate change is scientifically proven, and we must act quickly if we are to keep our planet in a life sustaining condition.

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?

No. New Mexico needs to be able to take quick and decisive actions when we are in a crisis.

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

If it was created like most grant processes, of being measurable and with a time table. This would also require an audit or review of documented completion. It cannot be a subjective merit.

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?

Voting should be easier for New Mexico. We have a wonderful richly diverse state that needs to be represented. That means absentee voting, drop boxes and clearly communicated voting locations are a must to bring all of New Mexico’s voices to our Roundhouse.

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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