Q&A: House District 17 candidate Ellis McMath - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 17 candidate Ellis McMath

House District 17 candidate Ellis McMath (Courtesy Ellis McMath)

NAME: Ellis McMath

POLITICAL PARTY: Republican

OCCUPATION: Concealed carry firearms instructor

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: FAA air traffic controller (retired after 22 years); Albuquerque reserve police officer; New Mexico State University commercial pilot; founder and director of a nonprofit organization; decorated Navy veteran — Vietnam

EDUCATION: Eastern New Mexico University; Seven Bar Flight School; Navy Whidbey Island Flight School; FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy. Albuquerque Bible College; Albuquerque Police Academy; Rio Grande High School

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: EllisMcMath.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?

We need to emphasize our tourism industry. For our state’s economy to thrive we need a happy, healthy workforce. As a legislator, I will support changes that foster a business-friendly atmosphere. This would include passing right-to-work laws, reducing personal income tax and reforming our bizarre gross receipts tax code.

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. Our law enforcement officers are our true modern-day heroes. Without them our Land of Enchantment would spiral into chaos. Our streets and freeways have become unsafe. Law enforcement officials are frustrated having to continually rearrest violent offenders.

3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety amid a rise in violent crime rates?

My experience as an Albuquerque police reserve officer has given me insight and first-hand experience to address crime at the legislative level. I will assist in drafting and presenting legislation to mandate sentence lengths and create systemic reforms to the judicial election process.

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?

Shockingly, our Land of Enchantment is becoming known as the “Late Term Abortion Capital.” This is an unregulated, dangerous industry, and I cannot support late-term abortions.

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 oppose gun registration. Gun registration leads to gun confiscations; i.e., Nazi Germany, Mexico (1917 Article 10) and now Australia. Does anyone think criminals will register their guns? I oppose any law that criminalizes law-abiding citizens. Responsible citizens should have the right to possess and carry firearms for protection.

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?

As an Albuquerque reserve police officer, I have responded to calls-for-service related to welfare checks on possibly neglected children. I have worked with CYFD personnel on individual cases. I believe these experiences uniquely qualify me to study existing policy with a view toward improving operations, transparency and accountability within the department.

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

… First, eliminate exemptions for special interests. Second, lower the rate. Next, eliminate tax on business services. It is not right that an in-state bookkeeper is forced to charge clients 7.875% when an out-of-state business can provide the service without charging gross receipts 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?

Our Legislature needs modernization. There can be conflicts of interest when “volunteer” legislators craft legislation that affects their livelihoods. Many qualified lawmakers resign or do not run for office because they simply cannot afford it. If a salary is implemented, I will donate my 2023 income to a nonprofit.

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?

Reforming how we spend education dollars will go a long way in requiring school accountability and improve the quality of education. Parents should have freedom to send their child to a school of their choice, private or public. Money should be attached to the student, not buildings or bloated administrations.

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?

Research shows the best place for very young children is in their own home. If that isn’t possible, I would support targeted programs for children who need it most. I oppose implementing a universal program. Government-run pre-K programs can lead to indoctrination tactics. The permanent fund should remain permanent.

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?

Electric cars and solar and wind power are exciting, new technologies; however, they have their own environmental impacts. CO2 emissions can be reduced by producing affordable electricity using nuclear power and natural gas. Trying to achieve net-zero emissions prior to developing sufficient sources to replace fossil fuels could spell calamity.

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 term “emergency” must be defined clearly in the law. The governor’s emergency powers should be limited to 30 days, unless extended by the Legislature. Our New Mexico and U.S. Constitutions mandate certain freedoms that should not be taken away.

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

I do not support such a 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)

Respondent did not limit answer to yes or no as requested.

15. What changes, if any, would you support to New Mexico’s election laws?

I agree with the Journal editorial published August 3. State legislators should revisit our voter data online accessibility law and debate privacy vs. transparency. Citizens should have confidence in election integrity. I support a requirement that voters must present a valid government photo ID when they vote.

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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