Q&A: House District 15 candidate Laura Gutierrez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 15 candidate Laura Gutierrez

House District 15 candidate Laura Gutierrez (Courtesy Laura Gutierrez)

NAME: Laura E. Gutierrez

POLITICAL PARTY: DTS

OCCUPATION: Customer service representative

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I have worked extensively with the Legislature as a citizen advocate and community organizer, including the process from start to finish on important child welfare legislation. I have shepherded a bill commonly referred to as Michael’s Law through the Legislature and was instrumental in developing policy that was considered for a PED rule change.

EDUCATION: B.A. political science, UNM, expected graduation spring 2024

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: None. Facebook Page Laura4HD15

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 Legislature should work to continue to make New Mexico attractive to industry and small business friendly, we should take steps to encourage growth in our agriculture, entertainment and other industries by common sense reductions in regulatory burdens as well as lowered tax burdens.

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, addressing crime in New Mexico and keeping our children safe is critical for our future. The revolving door (of) alleged criminals being released with virtually no skin in the game to commit multiple crimes while the first one they are alleged to have committed is still pending must end.

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?

Use of campaigns treating violence as a public health concern, look at the whole picture and focus on hot spots with well-targeted programs based on goals. Focus on risk factors causing the crime and address those factors, localize programs to address those factors.

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 a woman’s right to choose with limitations up to viability, with exceptions for catastrophic fetal abnormality or threat to the life of the mother or a serious concern about her health beyond the usual.

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 do not support the restriction of the sale of firearms to law abiding adult citizens, more laws don’t fix the problem, better education for children regarding the dangers of firearms and better enforcement to keep guns from people who should not possess them is the best solution.

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?

I believe that accountability for this agency starts at the top and if a governor cannot get the agency under control then an ombudsman or oversight commission should be employed to assist with making recommendations and improving the public’s awareness of the issues in the agency that need addressed.

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

I am in favor of repealing GRT as many states have done.

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?

Oppose.

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?

We need to stop believing that a one size fits all educational system will work for our diverse New Mexico education system. I favor developing a system that lets parents pick a school system with a curriculum that matches their childrens’ needs, including cultural or language differences.

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?

Oppose. With the passing of recreational cannabis and the new revenue from it, there is an opportunity to not dip into the permanent fund and disrupt the population and inflation growth from it.

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?

Oppose. Energy solutions should be science and technology driven so that they do not increase the cost of energy on those least able to afford it. The debate on energy and the environment needs to move beyond the rhetoric of extremes to real technological solutions that are cleaner and affordable.

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?

Changes should be made to prevent abuse of power. Long term emergency powers should be reviewed by the Legislature frequently and with its input to balance the use of the powers in any long-term situation. While pandemics may last years, emergencies should only be considered to last weeks at the most.

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

I support the reforms proposed by Think New Mexico.

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?

Open primaries that do not require a voter to register with a party to vote. I would also consider ranked choice voting for New Mexico.

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 – out of complete transparency my husband was the subject of a dispute over an unemployment payment dispute.

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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