Q&A: House District 40 candidate Joseph Sanchez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 40 candidate Joseph Sanchez

House District 40 candidate Joseph Sanchez (Courtesy Joseph Sanchez)

NAME: Joseph L. Sanchez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Electrical engineer

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Alcalde

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former state representative District 40, former vice-chair House Appropriations and Finance Committee

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico, and Master’s degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: josephsanchezfornm.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?

We need to eliminate the barriers to doing business in New Mexico by simplifying everywhere we can. In addition, we should expand our economy by becoming a hydrogen hub while working to make renewable energy a bigger piece of the economic picture.

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?

Crime is out of control. We need to change our laws to keep criminals behind bars while putting in place programs that reduce the recidivism rate. In addition, we need to hold our judges accountable for the actions they take.

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?

Many crime problems can be solved by improving our economy and education system while providing opportunities for our children. In the short term we need more police and need to hold criminals accountable. We need to review actions such as the constitutional amendment that allows for catch and release of criminals.

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 oppose late-term abortion with medical exceptions. I do not support taxpayer dollars funding abortions.

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’m a supporter of the 2nd Amendment as well as educating those who own firearms so they secure and store them in a proper way.

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?

We must retain our current caseworkers, incentivizing them with better pay. In addition, we need to add caseworkers so we can reduce the case load for each worker. I believe we must tap into the current workforce to see how we can make positive changes at CYFD — this means talking to management as well as the hands-on workforce.

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

Tax pyramiding under the GRT needs to end. In addition, we should end many of the exemptions and deductions under our current system to expand the tax base. Ultimately ending the gross receipts tax by finding consensus on the best replacement is necessary.

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?

We need to put this issue to a vote of the citizens to determine if legislators will be paid and what they will be paid. Having a salary in place for legislators may attract more people to run for office knowing they will be compensated for their time.

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?

Schools must receive adequate funding while students learn in facilities that are conducive to quality education. This is especially true for schools that serve Native American and ESL populations. These students deserve to have a quality education and to stop being overlooked by the adults running the system.

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 early childhood programs because they are important to the development of our children. The withdrawals come with protections to ensure the fund does not ever go away while providing a system to give our children the best possible start to their education.

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 well thought out legislation arrived at through a collaborative process, done responsibly, that will not raise rates on New Mexicans, a majority of whom are some of the poorest in the country. We can protect the climate while taking care of our family, friends and neighbors.

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?

We are two coequal branches of government and no one branch should have more power than the other. Emergency powers that are granted by law should face careful scrutiny by the Legislature to see if they are effective, too broad reaching, and are detrimental to our way of life.

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

Our capital outlay system is broken. This type of proposal needs to be looked into closely. My concern is that big cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe will benefit more than rural areas if this is not done correctly.

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?

We should have an open primary system so everyone can vote without so many people being left out of the process.

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.

Approximately 12 years ago, I failed to appear in connection with a routine traffic citation in Santa Fe. I was subsequently charged with failing to appear. After appearing on this charge, the matter was resolved, and charges dismissed.

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