NAME: Robert A. Salazar
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Electrical engineer
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: No prior political experience
EDUCATION: MSEE UNM
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: robertsalazarforhouse.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?
New Mexico should limit spending and fund necessary projects. Building up a reserves fund will help with future spending. New revenue can be harvested from economic development. Make laws and taxing favorable to new businesses. Make New Mexico a business-friendly state.
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, too many repeat offenders are released on their own recognizance. The judicial system should (consider) all factors when deciding to hold anyone accused of a violent crime.
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?
Increase number of police. Hold criminals accountable, including pretrial. New Mexico laws favor criminals not law-abiding citizens. The Arnold Tool should be removed and employ better guidelines.
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?
Sufficient New Mexico laws protecting abortion already exist. Abortions are legal up to birth. If an abortion is unsuccessful, then termination of the baby is the standard in New Mexico. I support restricting late-term abortion.
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 any further gun restrictions. Laws already exist that protect children from any unsafe condition. Itemizing different circumstances is redundant and unnecessarily complicates enforcement. Harming people is already a crime regardless of the tool used.
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?
Increase staffing in the field and improve oversight. Current staff can’t do their job properly due to limited resources, primarily time for each case. I’m not advocating more money, although more money is needed for staff increase. CYFD needs competent leadership, not more inefficient management.
7. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
With the current abundance of oil and gas revenue, the GRT should be lowered to stimulate New Mexico economy and support small businesses growth. An economy less dependent on oil and gas will grow if government allows it to grow.
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?
I support legislator salaries. But more useful is to provide legislators with tools they need to be more efficient and responsive to their constituents. A full-time staff and access to legal advice is a better use of tax payer money.
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?
A comprehensive study of schools should precede any action. The study needs to be conducted by an outside source and, hence, unbiased. A recent book “Race to the Bottom” by Luke Rosiak includes New Mexico in an assessment of the reason schools are failing children.
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?
Too many children are being raised by someone other than their parent. I support any effort that forms a stronger bound between the parent and child. Again, just throwing money at a problem is not a fix.
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?
I do not support most additional greenhouse measures. Mankind and New Mexicans are not a major contributor to greenhouse gas. A report “Contributions of natural systems and human activity to greenhouse gas emissions,” in “Advances in Climate Changes Research” reports that anthropogenic sources are roughly half the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions…
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 governor holds too much emergency power. In a real emergency where time is critical the governor should have full emergency power. After 30 days the Legislature should share emergency power and responsibility.
13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?
Yes, if you mean successful programs deserve additional resources.
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?
Restrict total money contributed to campaigns.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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.