NAME: Kurstin S. Johnson
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Realtor/small business owner
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Real estate broker, successful small business owner, New Mexico Real Estate commissioner under two governors, chaired the New Mexico Real Estate Commission, youngest female president of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Board of Realtors (now Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors) at the age of 30, chaired the Education Steering Committee (Real Estate Commission). I have spent 35 years working with buyers and sellers. …
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in journalism with minor in German from University of New Mexico
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: KurstinJohnson.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?
1. Stop persecuting the oil and gas industry. 2. Reform our state tax structure to be more business friendly. 3. Streamline the permitting and licensing processes to make it easier for any size company to open or relocate here. 4. Create a recovery fund for the restaurant industry.
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. Catch and release is not acceptable. Judges should be required to consider all pending charges when determining whether or not to release an individual to pretrial services, impose bail, or keep them behind bars. We can no longer allow dangerous individuals to terrorize the public.
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?
End catch and release. Protect, support, and value police officers. Enforce all of the laws as written, from vagrancy laws, to traffic violations, to shoplifting, to battery and murder. Protect the people not the 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?
As an adopted child, I am extremely grateful for the life I have and for the sacrifice both my birth mother and my adoptive parents made so that I could live. I support common sense restrictions beyond 15 weeks with exceptions for the health of the mother, incest or rape.
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?
Oppose. As stated above, enforce all of the laws. We already have laws on the books (i.e. NMSA Section 30-6-1, New Mexico’s Child Abuse/Abandonment statute) which allow prosecutors to prosecute parents who endanger children.
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?
All too often CYFD has used children and privacy laws as shields to hide a broken system in shadow. Children who had the great misfortune of being born into bad situations deserve dignity, protection and transparency. Let’s shine a light on that department, find the problems, and fix them.
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?
The New Mexico Legislature is a citizen Legislature and we should keep it that way.
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?
Money is clearly not the problem with education in New Mexico. We are 16th in per-child educational spending and 50th in educational outcomes. Empower parents to be able to have a say in where and how their children are being educated.
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. New Mexico’s permanent fund was set up to provide educational funding through investment returns. It has funded education in New Mexico for decades. Special interests have long sought to increase distributions from the permanent fund which risks the solvency of the fund and the future of education in New Mexico.
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?
Oppose. Extreme energy policies implemented in the past few years have been a major driver of inflation. Some gas prices in New Mexico have more than doubled in just two years. This is an unseen, but deeply felt tax that harms all New Mexicans and affects our economic progress.
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?
A governor should be able to respond to emergency situations. However, our system of government has always relied on checks and balances. The governor should be required to consult with and have the approval of the Legislature before extending an emergency declaration beyond 30 days.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
The state needs a transparent system that ranks, analyzes and coordinates capital outlay projects. However, elected officials, as representatives of the public, need to have the final say in how capital dollars are spent.
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?
We must have an election system that is above reproach. Voter ID is critical to restoring faith in our elections, whether in-person or voting absentee. We need to reduce high-risk voting methods like drop boxes, and increase pre-certification audits. Trust in the system is key to voter turnout.
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.