Q&A: 1st Congressional District candidate Melanie A. Stansbury - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: 1st Congressional District candidate Melanie A. Stansbury

1st Congressional District candidate Melanie Stansbury. (Courtesy Melanie Stansbury)

NAME: Melanie A. Stansbury

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: U.S. House representative for NM-01

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I have served as the U.S. congresswoman for NM-01 since being elected last year, after serving in the New Mexico Legislature since 2019. Since taking office, I have focused on the economy and jobs, tackling crime, homelessness, and childhood hunger, improving education and economic opportunity, addressing drought and climate change, and protecting reproductive rights. This builds on my lifetime of work as a science educator and researcher, working in communities across New Mexico on water, science, and natural resources issues, and as a staffer in the U.S. Senate and White House Office of Management and Budget.

EDUCATION: Ph.D. candidate and Masters in development sociology from Cornell University; Bachelor’s in human ecology and natural science from Saint Mary’s College; Albuquerque Public Schools K-12, graduated from Cibola High School

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: MelanieforNM.com

1. What is the biggest issue New Mexico is facing right now and how would you address it in Congress?

Access to affordable health care, behavioral health, public safety, economic opportunity and climate. In Congress I have voted to expand access to health care and protect reproductive health, have fought to bring resources home to help our communities, and passed legislation to tackle drought and climate change — and will continue this fight.

2. What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?

We need climate action now — to address both the causes and the impacts of climate change. This means investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and resilience; tackling wildfires and drought; and ensuring communities have the science and tools they need — which is why we just passed the largest climate bill ever.

3. What is your position on abortion? Do you think states should be able to place restrictions on it?

Access to abortion and reproductive health care is a human right and must remain between a person, their doctor, and loved ones — not the government. Congress must act to protect reproductive care now, which is why I am a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade.

4. 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.

5. What actions should Congress take regarding people now living illegally in the U.S.? What about those who want to come in?

Congress must pass bipartisan immigration reform to build a more just, fair, and humanitarian immigration system. This includes a path to citizenship, protecting Dreamers, fixing our asylum system, addressing the root causes of migration, and ensuring those that are seeking a better life have the opportunity.

6. Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?

Gun safety legislation saves lives. We have a responsibility to address the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. I voted for the most significant bipartisan gun legislation in decades, a ban on assault weapons, and will continue to support universal background checks, gun buyback programs, and prevention programs.

7. Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?

We must grow and diversify our economy. This means creating good-paying jobs, supporting small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, leaning into our strengths in science and technology, and investing in education and trades. That’s why I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS Act.

8. What actions do you think Congress should take to address inflation?

New Mexicans are struggling. That’s why I helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS Act to help lower costs and create new opportunities. I will continue to fight to lower costs for New Mexico families and grow our economy.

9. What is your position on the U.S.’s response to the war in Ukraine? Are there additional actions the U.S. should be taking?

I stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and believe we must continue to support multilateral actions to bring an end to this conflict and prevent further aggression. My office has helped New Mexicans with Ukrainian ties get to safety and I support U.S. aid to Ukraine and our allies.

10. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?

As someone who has lost loved ones to the opioid and fentanyl crisis, I know the impacts of this epidemic firsthand. I am working with law enforcement to tackle drug trafficking and addiction and have secured millions to get fentanyl off the streets and for crisis and behavioral health services.

11. What should be done at the federal level to address the increase in violent crime in the U.S., and especially in New Mexico?

I have and will continue to champion legislation targeting the root causes of crime, ensuring public safety departments have the tools they need, and addressing housing, behavioral health, and economic issues. I am particularly focused on youth programs and breaking cycles of violence with critically needed youth intervention programs.

12. What are your thoughts on the status of the U.S. Department of Justice oversight of Albuquerque’s police department? Would you take steps to try to change it in any way?

Albuquerque must address crime and ensure the safety of all our communities. DOJ oversight has helped develop stronger community-based policing models, but it’s time to bring this review to an end and ensure our communities have a strong voice in oversight, while we tackle the root causes of crime.

13. In a time of high partisanship and division, what are some issues where you could find common ground and work with members of the opposing party?

Congress must work together to deliver for New Mexico. The majority of my bills are bipartisan, including legislation on economic development, science and technology, wildfires and water security, and work on veterans issues. I will continue to work across the aisle — because that is how we best serve our communities.

14. What actions can Congress take to address the scourge of mass shootings?

We must end the epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings. I voted to pass the Protecting Our Kids Act and bipartisan gun legislation, secured millions for violence intervention and crisis services in New Mexico, and I will continue to bring home all possible resources to end cycles of violence.

15. What differentiates you from your opponents?

I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe our democracy and voting rights must be protected. I believe the 2020 election was not stolen and those responsible for violence must be held accountable. I believe in bipartisanship. I believe we must put New Mexico and our communities first.

16. Why do you want to be a member of Congress?

I am running for reelection because I believe in New Mexico and our ability to bring meaningful change. Together, we can tackle our biggest challenges in the economy drought, climate, crime, and homelessness. I am working every day to build a more just, equitable and sustainable future for our communities.

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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