Q&A: House District 22 candidate Augustine Montoya - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 22 candidate Augustine Montoya

House District 22 candidate Augustine Montoya (Courtesy Augustine Montoya)

NAME: Augustine Montoya


OCCUPATION: Employee at Claunch Pinto Soil & Water Conservation


RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Legislative assistant New Mexico House of Representatives 2021 regular session; committee assistant New Mexico House of Representatives 2022 regular session; Torrance County Bureau of Elections 2021 special and 2021 local elections; Jessica Velasquez 4 NM 2018 & 2020; Claunch Pinto Soil & Water Conservation District 2016 to present; UNM Land Grant Studies Program 2018 workstudy; Jerry & Augy’s Woodyard 23 years (family business)

EDUCATION: Honors Diploma Foreign Language — East Mountain High School; Bachelor’s degree liberal arts — UNM; focused in prelaw and Chicano/a studies


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?

The New Mexico Legislature must: 1. Attract new, low water impact, industry. 2. Increase tourism opportunity. 3. Hold current large corporations accountable for their share to our state. 4. Ensure that the legal cannabis industry is sustainable for the long term. #Diversifythestatebudget

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?

Guilty criminals must be brought to justice and violent criminals must be prevented from continuing to harm our communities. We must also look for new ways to combat recidivism and mental health issues in New Mexico.

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?

1. Expand access to mental and behavioral health care. 2. Rehabilitate nonviolent criminals to prevent recidivism. 3. Ensure that violent criminals are brought to justice and prevented from repeat offending. 4. Expand resources to communities.

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?

Banning abortion simply changes where and how safe abortions are sought. We see this in states that placed bans, people merely went elsewhere. As a result, we must ensure that if an abortion is sought that it is safe and accessible. Codifying abortion into state law is necessary and restrictions prevent safe access.

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?

Restrictions such as background and mental health checks are critical. Additionally, I believe our children must be educated on firearm safety. If a crime is committed by a child, parents must be accountable for not properly educating their child and additionally not preventing the crime from occurring. #responsiblegunowner

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?

Ensuring the mishandling of New Mexico’s children is properly investigated and that CYFD is accountable for its actions or inactions. Further, implementing programs that provide oversight for these operations. Additionally, supporting programs such as CASA that advocate for the child’s interest.

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

I would support legislation that ensures that our main street businesses and large corporations are on a level playing field. Meaning no large tax giveaways to corporations that unfairly outcompete our local 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?

Professionalize the state Legislature and ensure that everyday people can make the policies impacting us. However, tie the pay to the median income of the state, or our educators, so legislators understand the economic impacts facing our working class families and communities.

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?

1. Provide language accessibility in every school. 2. More funding to wrap around coordination. 3. Involve Native and Indigenous communities in the policy making process. 4. Pay all educators appropriately and provide appropriate benefits. 5. Expand broadband internet connectivity in Native and Indigenous communities and rural New Mexico. 6. Support recommendations from the Martinez/Yazzie ruling.

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 the amendment and finding new ways to get critical funding to our schools and ultimately our students and educators.

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 stand in support of strong legislation ensuring we lower our emissions and achieving net-zero 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?

I believe that emergency action should be balanced with passage by a full time, paid Legislature. This is why we have checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches.

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

I believe that all capital outlay should be evaluated and reported to ensure that monies are being appropriated to projects that truly address community and program needs.

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?

I would like to see laws that expand access to the right to vote and protect poll workers, county clerks and voters from harassment and undue influence at the polls.

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?


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


Home » 2022 election » Q&A: House District 22 candidate Augustine Montoya

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