Q&A: Attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez

Attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez. (Courtesy Raúl Torrez)

NAME: Raúl Torrez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: District attorney

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Bernalillo County district attorney, 2017-present; private practice, 2013-2017; assistant U.S. attorney, 2011-2013; special advisor and White House fellow — U.S. Department of Justice 2009-2010; special assistant U.S. attorney, 2008-2009; assistant attorney general, 2006-2009; assistant district attorney, 2005-2006.

EDUCATION: A.B. in government, Harvard University; M.S. in international political economy, London School of Economics; Juris Doctorate, Stanford Law School

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: raultorrez.com

1. What would your top priorities be as attorney general?

I will use my experience to strengthen our criminal justice system, safeguard the environment, and take on corruption and special interests. I will maintain our status as a safe harbor for reproductive rights by protecting women and health care providers from civil and criminal liability under unconstitutional statutes in bordering states.

2. What would be your strategy for handling the ongoing water lawsuit between New Mexico and Texas?

The office needs to recruit an in-house team of highly qualified litigators to protect our state’s precious water resources. We must end the practice of outsourcing complex legal work to outside counsel who lack the requisite experience and do not prioritize the interests of the people of New Mexico.

3. Crime has become a top concern among many New Mexicans. As attorney general, what would you do to tackle the state’s high violent crime rate?

I will keep fighting to restore common sense to our criminal justice system, shut the revolving door for violent, repeat offenders, and push for greater protections for sexual assault survivors and children who are being needlessly retraumatized. Finally, I will work to establish more treatment programs for nonviolent offenders.

4. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, what would be your approach for providing legal protections to out-of-state residents who come to New Mexico to access abortion services?

We must continue to be a safe harbor for women accessing reproductive health care and pass legislation preventing bordering states from imposing liability on women and providers. I will seek the maximum authority to prevent other states from utilizing our law enforcement and courts to assist in targeting women who travel to our state.

5. Do you support or oppose changing New Mexico’s open records law to allow the names of applicants for some top government positions to be kept secret?

Oppose. Accountability and transparency must begin with the Attorney General’s Office. The AG should actively ensure timely compliance with the Inspection of Public Records Act and public records laws by other government agencies and within the office as well.

6. If elected, would you hire outside firms to represent New Mexico in some court cases? If so, what would be your criteria for determining when such an approach to litigation should be used?

As attorney general, I will work to rebuild the inhouse litigation capabilities of the office and work to end the extensive use of out-of-state law firms. Outside counsel should rarely be used and only after an independent panel of local experts has vetted their qualifications.

7. As a related question, would you change the state’s legal representation in ongoing cases involving outside law firms? If yes, how would you ensure such changes did not hurt the state’s legal case?

I would evaluate each case on an individual basis, depending on the type of litigation, where in the litigation process it is, and how the current litigation aligns with the affected community’s best interest.

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.

Election Guide

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