Q&A: House District 19 candidate Janelle Anyanonu - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 19 candidate Janelle Anyanonu

House District 19 candidate Janelle Anyanonu (Courtesy Janelle Anyanonu)

NAME: Janelle Anyanonu

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Office manager

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I am a graduate of Emerge New Mexico (2020), a member of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee, and I have twice served on the State Central Committee for the Democratic Party

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: janellefornewmexico.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?

First, we must put a greater percentage of oil and gas royalties in reserve to help alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels. Second, we must diversify our economy with an emphasis on industries like film, eco-tourism, and cannabis to avoid the boom-bust cycle of oil and gas.

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?

I support all constitutionally-sound, data-driven public safety legislation, especially legislation that would keep people who are a danger or a flight risk behind bars.

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?

Our police forces are spread paper-thin. We cannot expect our officers to be police, therapists and mediators. I support the creation and expansion of programs beyond our police and first responders to handle urgent but nonviolent calls especially where behavioral health and addiction are concerned.

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 believe the decision about abortion is between a woman and her doctor. Fortunately, even after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, New Mexicans are still free to make their own choices about abortion without government interference. If elected I will fight to expand access to reproductive health care.

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?

The Supreme Court recently hamstrung gun laws. New Mexico is therefore limited in what can be regulated. Nevertheless, we must act. Gun violence is literally killing us. Domestic abusers and dangerous people must not have access to guns. Minimum age should be 21, safe storage mandated and waiting periods implemented.

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?

New Mexico’s children continue to suffer as a result of the failures of CYFD. It is our responsibility as a society to protect our children. I support the improvements underway at CYFD, but I also support increased transparency and legislation to hold the department accountable if it fails our children.

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

The gross receipts tax code should be simplified and streamlined. We need to make compliance with all of our tax laws easy for small businesses. I also support shifting some of our budgetary reliance away from GRT to a more progressive income tax.

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. Otherwise, we restrict the pool of people who could ever run for office. Working people deserve the opportunity to serve in the Legislature too. Like all New Mexicans, legislators should make a living wage. An appropriate salary should be set by voters, and not legislators.

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 amendment to increase funding for early childhood education is a good start. However, the state is still failing its students. New Mexico needs to meet our children where they are. This means ease of access to early childhood programs for non-English speaking families.

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 to allocate money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to funding early childhood development. However, funding cannot only go to schools and government run childcare programs. It must include in-home facilities. Programs must be multicultural and multilingual for all New Mexico’s children to benefit.

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 legislation that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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 am proud of the hard decisions that our governor made to help keep New Mexicans safe during a pandemic. I believe that current law allows the governor the latitude needed to make important decisions even if those decisions are unpopular.

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

I am willing to consider legislation to make sure that capital outlay funding is managed in a fiscally-sound manner. I would support a merit-based system to determine how capital outlay is spent if real data supports a merit-based system.

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 the introduction of same day registration on Election Day. Our democracy works best when everyone has a voice.

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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