Q&A: Land commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Land commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard

Land commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard. (Courtesy Stephanie Garcia Richard)

NAME: Stephanie Garcia Richard

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: New Mexico commissioner of public lands

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Velarde

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: New Mexico commissioner of public land, 2019-present; New Mexico State Investment Council, vice chair, 2019-present; Oil Conservation Commission, 2019-present; New Mexico state representative, 2013-2018; member of legislative budgeting committee for four years, gaining an inside knowledge of how the Land Office earnings impact our state’s budget. …

EDUCATION: B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in government and political science; California State University-Los Angeles for education certification; University of Virginia-State Legislative Leaders Foundation, graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: StephanieGarciaRichard.com

1. What would be your top priorities as land commissioner?

Ensuring we’re first in renewable energy, revenue diversification, affordable housing and saving taxpayers’ money by enforcing environmental protections and requiring adequate bonding for companies operating on public lands. Like the new Veteran’s Cemetery on state trust land and fighting for our military bases, I’ll continue to support our military families.

2. What steps, if any, would you take to boost revenue for public schools and other beneficiaries of state trust land?

The four years of record-breaking billions from oil is temporary. I’m focused on revenue diversification from other sources like renewable energy, economic development and border commerce. Since taking office, we’ve tripled renewable energy production including the largest wind farm in the western hemisphere and expanded development through leases like Netflix.

3. What steps, if any, would you take to address climate change, protect the environment and promote outdoor recreation?

I’ve restored more acres and saved more freshwater than any previous land commissioner. I established an accountability program to hold bad actors responsible and saved over $15 million in cleanup costs. I’m the first commissioner to allow dispersed camping and look forward to expanding that program across New Mexico.

4. Would you support or oppose a ban — or temporary moratorium — on fracking permits for the oil industry on state trust land?

We’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue because the Legislature doesn’t require oil and gas to pay their fair share. I’d support a moratorium as a way to force the Legislature to act and raise royalty rates to match Texas.

5. What would be your approach to overseeing state investments and investment strategy as a member of the State Investment Council?

As the SIC vice-chair, my approach has been to invest in ways that increases value but also creates jobs, helps our companies grow and is consistent with our values. I helped develop the first-ever renewable energy plan and environmental and social policy to guide the management of our investments.

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.

I was detained and ticketed during college for jumping a turnstile in a subway.

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