Q&A: House District 2 candidate Matt Dodson - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 2 candidate Matt Dodson

House District 2 candidate Matt Dodson (Courtesy Matt Dodson)

NAME: Matt Dodson

POLITICAL PARTY: Independent

OCCUPATION: Self employed

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Farmington

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Community organizer, politically active for years

EDUCATION: BA in History from University of Nebraska, Lincoln

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Matt4UsNM.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?

When I ran for mayor of Farmington, we were in an oil and gas boom. I said, “Great. Let’s take this money and diversify.” I got laughed at. Literally. Two years later the boom crashed. Even at today’s oil prices, the oilfield has not picked back up in Farmington. No one is laughing now. … I would tax the rich and corporations.

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 only agree with holding very violent offenders until trial. New Mexico did not do a good job of keeping trials going during COVID. This must never occur again.

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?

Extreme inequality results in many community ills. Universal basic income and taxing the rich would end much of this. Adding many more guns to our current inequality ills results in more violent gun crimes.

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?

Abortion rights need to be codified at the federal level. I do not support any further restrictions on abortion in New Mexico or federally.

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?

AR-15-style weapons are only made to kill people. I would ban them. As an incremental step, I support raising the age to purchase them. I would make people responsible for crimes committed with their guns. I support mandatory insurance for gun owners.

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?

We have had foster children. A lack of transparency results in a lack of correcting cases of abuse. When foster parents or state employees tasked with caring for children in their care commit child abuse, they and anyone covering it up need to be prosecuted.

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

Sales taxes disproportionately hit the poor. I do support higher sales taxes on luxury items. We need the rich to pay higher taxes, not the poor.

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?

We need a salaried Legislature. Currently we have a Legislature of, for, and by the rich. I would pay legislators by the day. Ten hours per day at $25 per hour is $250 per day at the bare minimum. I would make it automatically adjust with inflation.

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 put a lot more money into education. It pays for itself in the long run. This is especially true with lifting up disadvantaged populations.

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 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?

We must get off oil, gas and coal. Methane emissions need their own tax. I support zero-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?

State leaders need emergency powers in times of crisis. We were lucky COVID was not more lethal or more easily transmitted. Politicizing mask wearing was BS. It was said early on that if everyone wore a mask that it would be better than a vaccine.

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

The current capital outlay system needs much more oversight. The Legislative Finance Committee needs to monitor all projects over $5,000, not just those over $1 million. I do not like the political side of this. New Mexico needs a ranking system for capital outlay projects like the Department of Education has.

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?

This is my No. 1 issue. I would institute ranked choice voting in open primaries and in the general election with equal access to get on the ballot for everyone: each candidate for a given position would need the same number of signatures from any registered voter. I support changing the voting age to 16.

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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