Q&A: House District 29 candidate Joy Garratt - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 29 candidate Joy Garratt

House District 29 candidate Joy Garratt (Courtesy Joy Garratt)

NAME: Joy I. Garratt

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Recently retired teacher/freelance editor

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current state legislator, educator for more than 28 years, neighborhood leader, former small business owner, caregiver for elderly parents.

EDUCATION: B.S. in liberal studies with concentrations in communications and psychology, Excelsior University; post-B.A. teacher licensure program, UNM; M.A. in educational leadership, concentration in teaching English as a second language, UNM

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: joy4newmexico.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?

It’s essential to expand accessibility of high-speed broadband to facilitate remote workers’ ability to work here and to promote startups and entrepreneurial ventures. Let’s expand the Space Valley Statewide Coalition work, quantum information science development, biomedical research fields, manufacturing (including re-shoring of businesses that went abroad), and collaboration with 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?

Yes, while we have to make it easier to hold violent and dangerous individuals in jail, we also have a duty to ensure that the constitutional rights of such individuals are protected. A key element is ensuring prompt arrest, adjudication and sentencing: “swift, certain and fair.”

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 must speed up the entire judicial process; swift enforcement is critical to deterring crime — prompt arrest, adjudication and sentencing. We must fully fund law enforcement, ensure officers receive the highest levels of ongoing training and consider provisions such as bonuses for retention and full life-long health coverage.

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 elected official, I will always respect a woman’s personal decision about abortion and fight to protect that right in policy and legislation.

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?

A gun owner myself, I support legislation that restricts the sale of AR-15 style weapons to certain categories, such as only those in law enforcement. Raising the age limit for purchasing weapons to 21 makes sense. We must carefully address and craft legislation pertaining to safe storage of 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?

I support a CYFD focus on improving and expanding preventive services. It is essential to ensure pay equity so effective employees stay with CYFD and do not move to better paying and possibly less stressful jobs in the private sector or other government agencies. Caseloads must meet professional standards.

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

The 2022 tax package reduced the gross receipts tax by 0.25% to alleviate tax burdens for small and local businesses as well as consumers. We need additional work on GRT, including but not limited to amending provisions regarding how GRT is actually charged to small businesses.

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?

I support a salaried Legislature and work with New Mexico Ethics Watch and an ad hoc legislative group to examine the issue. Two possibilities include paying legislators the median New Mexican salary or setting up a salary commission that would make recommendations to be voted on by the Legislature.

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 ensure the Public Education Department finalizes its comprehensive response plan and support a robust pipeline to prepare bilingual educators. It also needs to allocate adequate resources for Hispanic, Black and Indian education advisory boards and liaisons as well as equitable resources for students with disabilities.

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 it.

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 it but as in the case of all legislation, we need to carefully craft and review the actual legislation to ensure that it does not engender unintended consequences.

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?

The emergency powers that a governor can use did not originally contemplate a long-term public health emergency like COVID-19. While they need to be reviewed, any legislation that would suddenly end them could adversely impact access to vital federal and state emergency funding. We must proceed with caution.

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

Yes, and I have been studying the mechanisms that other states use to evaluate capital outlay funding in fair and equitable ways that address major state and regional needs. The Legislative Finance Committee is exploring possible proposals on how to effectively do this.

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?

I support partially open primaries. Decline to State, unaffiliated registered voters should be able to vote in taxpayer funded primaries without having to change their voter registration back and forth.

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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