Q&A: House District 37 candidate Joanne Ferrary - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 37 candidate Joanne Ferrary

House District 37 candidate Joanne Ferrary (Courtesy Joanne Ferrary)

NAME: Joanne J. Ferrary




RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Traffic safety program director



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 are working to attract industries such as film production with tax incentives, especially to rural locations for rural productions. Manufacturing along the Borderplex is growing as we invest in infrastructure that enhances cross border import/export opportunities and supporting clean energy production increases jobs for solar and wind. Spaceport America is attracting aerospace companies to our state.

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? 

There has to be a balance between pretrial detention and presumption of innocence, but judges need to be provided the standards, from the Legislature, to base their decisions on whether the accused should remain incarcerated or not.

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?

We need to increase access to behavioral health that includes alcohol and drug addiction treatment, improve reentry from incarceration and impose further gun safety laws.

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 sponsored the Decriminalization of Abortion bill and it will protect safe and legal abortion for women of New Mexico and other states. I don’t support any further 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? 

I would support legislation to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines. I support the safe storage and locking of all guns, especially after having lost a friend in sixth grade when she tried to recover a gun from her younger brother.

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?

CYFD needs more staff that are well paid and not overburdened with too many cases. Monitoring through better data collection and sharing is critical and can help with best placement scenarios and protections.

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

We should continue to exclude taxes on food, medicine and feminine products. In addition, we should also exclude taxes on diapers and the services of medical providers.

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?

If done right, it is a full time job to help address constituent needs. If paid positions, more young people of color would be able to afford the time and energy to run for office. They should be paid close to what Albuquerque city councilors or county commissioners are compensated. District offices and staff would be beneficial as well provide jobs for constituents.

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?

New Mexico has been making landmark investments in our children since the Yazzie/Martinez case, from cradle to career. Raising teacher salaries, increasing their training, and addressing bilingual and cultural studies in school curriculum are just some of the much needed changes for our diverse student population.

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 enthusiastically support the Vote 4 Kids on the November ballot and the expanded spending on education. It’s better to invest in our children’s education, especially during the formative years of early childhood than to invest in Wall Street.

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 totally support environmental protections for clean air, land and water. Requiring the capture of methane from gas production flaring will be critical to protecting the environment. We should be investing more funds immediately to drastically reduce emissions so we can reverse the negative effects on climate change sooner than 2050.

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 feel the governor’s emergency powers during the pandemic were appropriate and supportive for the health and safety of our state. There are checks and balances in place such as the courts deciding that the Legislature should make the appropriation decisions regarding the federal COVID funding.

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

I would support a system that appropriated funds to those projects most in need and that is fair to rural communities as well as municipalities. This would support larger projects and get them completed faster.

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?

Provide a permanent list for mail in ballots so voters don’t have to request every election, have plenty of secured and monitored containers to collect those ballots and have them monitored, and declare the day of a statewide election a legal public holiday and the day of a general election a school holiday.

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?


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.


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