Q&A: House District 26 candidate Eleanor Chavez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 26 candidate Eleanor Chavez

House District 26 candidate Eleanor Chavez (Courtesy Eleanor Chavez)

NAME: Eleanor Chavez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Executive director NUHHCE District 1199NM

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: House of Representatives District 13, 2009-2013, Public Education Commission District 1 2015-2017

EDUCATION: Master of Social Work, University of Washington

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Eleanorchavez.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?

New Mexico has successfully developed the film industry, tourism and most recently the cannabis industry. We should continue to develop those areas. We should also expand renewable energy (wind and solar) and support local agriculture and eco-tourism.

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?

We must remember that one is innocent until proven guilty. If there is sufficient evidence that one will reoffend, then that may justify holding them until their trial. Each case must be judged on its own facts and merits.

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 address the root causes of crime by providing drug abuse treatment, mental health and job training programs.

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 codifying abortion protections in state law. I do not support any restrictions on abortion in New Mexico.

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 support legislation that would ban or restrict the sale of AR-15 weapons. I believe that adults must be responsible for keeping weapons out of the hands of children by providing storage that is locked and inaccessible.

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?

Caseloads must be reduced especially for workers responsible for assessing initial risk for abuse or neglect and responsible for providing ongoing case management. We should increase pay to reduce turnover and provide additional training for supervisors and CPS workers. As a state we must provide additional support to at-risk families.

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

Our current system of taxation is regressive. While the New Mexico Legislature reduced the gross receipts tax in the last session, we need to eliminate other loopholes that can be closed to make our tax system fairer.

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 paid Legislature. Doing so would create more diversity of the Legislature and increase the numbers of those who are able to serve their community.

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 made improvements in increasing educator salaries and funding for early childhood education. Addressing the teacher shortage will ensure that we have the best teachers in our classrooms. We must also focus funding for Native American students and students whose first language is not English.

10. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten, and childcare 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 strongly support the constitutional amendment.

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 strongly support limiting greenhouse emissions with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 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?

We don’t need to make any changes.

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

I believe how the state spends capital outlay money should be transparent.

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?

We must have strong laws that punish those who harass election workers and voters. We need an option for automatic mail in ballots and drop boxes for absentee 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?

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.

I have been arrested twice, both in planned acts of civil disobedience. One was fighting for labor rights against a corporate hospital and the second was being arrested with a Catholic nun and one other woman protesting former Gov. Susanna Martinez.

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