NAME: Robert S. Godshall
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Retired from the Department of Homeland Security
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 28 years law enforcement, small business owner, political activism in the community.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UNM in 1979.
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 is an economic mistake to rely too much on one industry. Creating a more business friendly state would encourage enterprise to move here, and entrepreneurs to stay here. A fair tax system, less crime, an improved education system and a less regulated economy would create a more prosperous 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?
Defendants are entitled to conditions of release that will ensure their appearance at trial. The community is entitled to be protected from dangerous offenders. The Legislature needs to empower judges to set conditions that will balance those concerns and not rely on behavior predicting pseudo-science like the Arnold Tool.
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?
The Legislature needs to support law enforcement by enacting fair standards by which a police officer can qualify for immunity in the execution of his or her lawful duties. The Legislature could also prevent the existence of immigrant friendly cities that allow criminal foreign nationals to avoid investigation and prosecution by Homeland Security.
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 support restrictions on abortion when a fetus attains a certain age like 15-20 weeks. Most New Mexicans think that is reasonable. How we treat life says something about us as human beings and it hardly seems fair to the fetus to start its life and then end it prematurely.
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?
Law abiding gun owners do not understand this thought process that says we should restrict certain gun rights while allowing offenders to receive leniency when they commit heinous acts. As a society, we should expect our citizens to behave in a lawful manner and when they don’t, they should experience appropriate consequences.
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?
The people of CYFD have an impossible job and they are overwhelmed by the number of children who need better parents. It is an agency that has too many responsibilities and is, therefore, designed to fail. Maybe CYFD should stick to its mission to remove children from dangerous situations and get out of the business of family improvement.
7. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
We need to get rid of the gross receipts tax. As one of only two states to use it, New Mexico has largely discouraged business from moving here and has reduced tax revenue because so many exemptions to the tax exist. I prefer a sales tax that is lower and spread out among more contributors.
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?
As an aspiring legislator and as someone that does not need to be paid, I do not have an opinion on this question. I am concerned, however, that once legislators get paid they will increase their pay whenever they want and I am opposed to that.
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 is dead last in education. The state’s leaders have failed to deliver quality education to all our children for many years. We can create a more competitive education environment by having the money follow the student, rather than the system, to be spent where the parents choose. School choice is what our citizens want.
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 am not in favor of any plan to withdraw more money from the state’s permanent fund. Given that our education system is failing our current students now, we should work at fixing our system and not spending more money. The system needs to have standards of learning and those standards need to be met.
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 think we have the technological capability to create energy sources that will generate more sustainable and effective power with much less pollution in the future. We do not need legislation giving the government more power in this area.
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?
This governor demonstrated that an executive can have and use too much power when it comes to an emergency situation. The governor’s authority should be for a temporary period that should be superseded by subsequent legislation so that the people have a voice in such an important decision.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Capital project spending should be as transparent as possible regardless of the method utilized. Holding legislators accountable for how they spend money is just as important as the system used to spend it.
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)
I do not. …
15. What changes, if any, would you support to New Mexico’s election laws?
Integrity, integrity, integrity. We have lost confidence in our electoral system and we need to get it back so that citizens of all parties and ideologies believe elections are fair and vote counting is correct. Accurate voter records and verifiable voters are essential to election integrity.
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.