Q&A: House District 31 candidate Bill Rehm - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 31 candidate Bill Rehm

House District 31 candidate Bill Rehm (Courtesy Bill Rehm)

NAME: William R. Rehm

POLITICAL PARTY: Republican

OCCUPATION: N.M. state representative since 2006, private investigator, traffic crash reconstructionist, and police course instructor — 1994 to present; retired captain Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department 2000

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: FBI National Academy graduate — December 1995; Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department — awarded the Julian Narvaez Memorial Award and Sheriff Officer of the Quarter; Albuquerque Police Department — awarded Metal of Meritorious Service; New Mexico House of Representatives since 2006, current certified law enforcement instructor; current reserve police officer (volunteer) Bernalillo County Sheriff Department and N.M. Mounted Patrol; past AYSO Soccer Board member — AYSO coach and coach instructor — AYSO referee and referee instructor; past criminal justice instructor TVI (CNM)

EDUCATION: FBI National Academy Graduate 1995; University of Albuquerque — Bachelor’s 1975; Highland High School — 1968

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: BillRehm.us

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?

Over 40% of our budget comes from this revenue. We must create a coherent vision as to how New Mexico can shift the course from natural resource investment to decarbonization, while allowing oil and gas to play a part in this because of the income that they create for this 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?

Yes, stop the catch and release. In 2016 we passed bail bond reform and were told by the court it would make our community safer. It did not. Since 2018 I introduced legislation to hold violent felons in jail. Defense attorneys oppose this legislation and have prevented its passage.

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?

Stop the catch and release. Amending 3-strikes legislation to give a life sentence to criminals who injure or kill three different times. We must increase mental health reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — preventing gun purchase. In 2021 I passed legislation increasing the penalty for felons possessing firearms and using a firearm when committing a crime.

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 understand why we need early term abortion. I oppose late term abortion (with some limitations) which justifies terminating the life of a viable child on a failed abortion where the child is born alive. Late term abortion places women at greater risk of surgical complications and mental health issues.

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?

Federal law just expanded background checks on those under 21. Mandatory locked storage was found unconstitutional in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision (2008). New Mexico child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor laws can be used to prosecute parents who endanger a child with drugs or dangerous weapons.

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 must take action now to protect our most vulnerable children through transparency, and ending inconsistent policies or procedures. Ending the confidentiality clause preventing disclosure of internal failures. We must implement a third-party independent appeals process that can be quickly utilized by anyone concerned about CYFD actions (or lack thereof).

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

We must broaden the base and lower the overall GRT rate. We must also eliminate tax pyramiding and reduce the personal income tax rate. We must undertake a serious overhaul of our tax system and create one that drives entrepreneurship and job creation, while being equitable, simple and more efficient.

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?

Our founding fathers saw legislative work as an honor and civic duty. Other legislatures pay from $100 to just over $114,000 per year. If we were to enact paying our legislators what would be next? “It is not enough, and we deserve more.”

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?

In the last 10 years the state spent over $30 billion on education, yet we are still ranked last. States with school choice over that period have seen measurable improvements. Until parents are given freedom of school choice, New Mexico’s will be at the mercy of a failing 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?

Oppose. Early childhood funding increased — $136.5 million in FY 2012 to $578.9 million in FY 2023 — 324% — with unspent money. During the 2020 legislative session we created the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund. Right now the fund has over $2 billion — next year $3.5 billion. All for early childhood programs.

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?

Current policies toward “net-zero” will impoverish our citizens. Our rural communities do not have access to the infrastructure required for electric vehicles, which cost up to 50% more than gas powered vehicles. We must implement policies that incentivize the implementation of renewable energy while protecting our communities from energy poverty.

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?

Yes. I cosponsored legislation for Legislature involvement after 60 days of an emergency. Currently the governor can appropriate $750,000 per emergency. This must be increased. The Legislature must have a role in assuring these powers are not abused and do not undermine the separation of powers vital to our democratic system of government.

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

No. All taxpayers from across the state deserve their fair share is spend on them. This would mean the more affluent areas would not receive their fair share because they have a larger tax base to draw upon for their capital improvements.

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?

Need for uniformity amongst counties on training, and uniformity where challengers and watchers are located in relation to those handling the ballots. Secretary of state or county clerks will conduct training of challengers and watchers. Clearer rules on the information required on the outer envelope to accept mail in ballots.

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?

When I learned my prior business partner caused a $147.00 state business tax lien (1997), the lien was immediately paid (1997) and that person was dismissed from my company.

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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