Q&A: House District 39 candidate Rudy Martinez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 39 candidate Rudy Martinez

House District 39 candidate Rodolpho Martinez (Courtesy Rodolpho Martinez)

NAME: Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Retired

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Silver City

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Air Force veteran and served in Vietnam, worked at the Chino Mines for over 30 years, was an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers electrician. Former Town Council and mayor of Bayard, former Grant County commissioner, former HD39 representative

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science from Western New Mexico University and Cobre High School in Bayard

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: rudymartineznm.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?

Breaking from boom and bust cycles will take investments and incentives in renewable energy sectors that can help us diversify our energy portfolio. Not only will this help break boom and bust cycles, or mitigate their impacts, but it will also create good-paying jobs in rural New Mexico.

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?

Violent offenders pose risks to our communities and it is important that we make sure victims in cases of alleged violence are able to keep a peace of mind that they won’t be harmed again, and communities should not be subject to more instances of violence from an accused individual.

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?

While rural New Mexico has not seen record high violent crime rates like the more urban areas of New Mexico, it’s something we must take seriously. Addressing these issues requires looking at a broken criminal justice system that should improve our recidivism rate so we reduce instances of repeat offenders.

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 do support codifying abortion protections in state law. It is important that the people of New Mexico know that the government will not go between them and their medical professional when they make health care decisions. I oppose 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?

The first priority should be to prevent guns from falling into the hands of mass shooters and violent criminals. I would support an age limit raise to purchase such weapons and supporting regulations to safely secure firearms around children, which many responsible gun owners are already doing.

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?

Improve the lack of transparency that is preventing families and the public from accessing necessary information that is needed to hold the department accountable. We can’t keep kids safe if we don’t know what the department is doing.

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

There aren’t any changes that I would make. The GRT is necessary to help pay for the services our government owes to the public.

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?

While I could personally serve without a salary, a salary could bring new voices to the table that haven’t been able to sacrifice their job to serve. Ensuring diverse voices at the table is important to address everyday problems. I don’t have enough information about how much.

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?

The Legislature needs to do more to attract teachers who can fulfill these unique roles to provide individualized instruction to very-specific needs of previously underserved students. Additionally, improving access to broadband internet is going to be essential to improving lives for students in Native American reservations.

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 do and while I was serving in this seat, I dedicated a lot of time to improving access to early childhood education, especially in rural communities that are disproportionately impacted by lack of accessibility.

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?

Invest and incentivize renewable energy production. An important part of reaching net-zero requires a diversified energy portfolio that doesn’t heavily rely on fossil fuels. While I think it may be too late to get on track by 2050, making reachable goals to get on track is something I am open to and support.

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?

Unprecedented times gave way to an unprecedented response when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham used the emergency powers held by her office. I think there is room for improvement for communities to make independent decisions on their own but they should be held to a base standard that doesn’t drastically increase transmissibility.

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

I think this is something that should be examined, but I’m hesitant to change the general structure of how capital outlay funding requests are made.

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?

Increased early voting opportunities, particularly in the weekend leading up to Election Day. Additionally, states like Colorado have adopted automatic mail-ballot voting, without experiencing voter fraud. I think a system like this would help increase any voters’ ability to vote in elections, regardless of their party.

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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