Q&A: House District 56 candidate Harlan Vincent - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: House District 56 candidate Harlan Vincent

House District 56 candidate Harlan Vincent. (Courtesy Harlan Vincent)

NAME: Harlan Vincent


OCCUPATION: Businessman, owner and operator of Flash Paving and Flash Quality Hunts


RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 25 years in public safety with the Ruidoso Fire Department, retiring as fire chief in 2016. Oversaw budgets, capital outlay projects, personnel, grant writing. Commander of the Emergency Operation Center. Chaired the Sierra Blanca Wild Land Fire Academy. Graduate of Leadership Lincoln. Businessman, very familiar with New Mexico laws, regulations, and tax policy affecting business and industry.

EDUCATION: Associate degree in fire science

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: HarlanVincentforNM.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?

Rather than thinking up ways to “diversify,” we should change leadership so New Mexicans can develop assets we already possess. We have abundant resources and dedicated business leaders and entrepreneurs restrained by government stumbling blocks created in Santa Fe. The Legislature should repeal the laws that discourage creativity and entrepreneurship.

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. New Mexicans are being killed and injured by criminals with a string of repeat offenses daily since the implementation of the “catch-and-release” laws under Democratic leadership. A primary function of government is to prevent its citizens from being victimized by criminals and the current administration has failed New Mexicans.

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?

End “catch and release” policies. Provide sufficient funding for police and school resource officers. Restore qualified immunity to our police officers so that our counties and municipalities can spend money on preventing and solving crime instead of paying lawyers and lawsuits. I will work for these common-sense solutions.

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?

The court ruled, correctly, noting that there is no reference in the Constitution to “abortion.” They simply stated that the issue is one that’s left to state legislatures. The Legislature needs to create a statute which provides protections for the unborn as well as the health and welfare of women.

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?

Unlike my opponent, I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and I’m endorsed by the National Rifle Association. The Lincoln County Commission passed a resolution affirming that it would defend our Second Amendment rights and liberties against unconstitutional infringement. My opponent, was the only commissioner voting “No” in Lincoln County.

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?

The governor vetoed a bill — that had bipartisan support — that provided for independent oversight of CYFD. I would reintroduce that bill to ensure that the agency cannot continue to operate in the dark and will be held accountable for its failures so that real improvement can take place.

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

For a long time, our gross receipts tax laws have been a deterrent to investment and economic development. We need to overhaul our tax system, eliminate the GRT, and replace it with a system that is friendly to business and that encourages economic development and entrepreneurship.

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 oppose creating a Legislature of salaried professional politicians. That would simply create more bureaucracy, more employees, and higher costs. It’s best that our legislators are in Santa Fe as infrequently as necessary. We need minimal law-making and lots of law-repealing. Less government is better than more government.

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?

The education system is supposed to be about the students and their families, not about union bosses in Albuquerque. We need to expand charter school opportunities, provide support for homeschoolers, and give parents full range of options for their children. I support empowerment of parents and local school boards.

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?

No. New Mexico spends more on education per student than several other states and continues to rank 50th. Money is not the problem. It is corruption and misspending — like the Democratic legislator who apparently stole more than $1 million from Albuquerque schools. We should not raid the permanent fund.

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?

Keep in mind that the U.S. has already done much to reduce greenhouse emissions. It’s important that we act based on scientific study and not in response to pop culture. The Democrats’ plans for eliminating fossil fuels and getting everyone into electric cars will not work.

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?

Such powers should only come from the people — through legislation. As we all now know, the governor ordered lots of “solutions” in search of nonexistent problems — shutting down businesses and inflicting irreparable harm on our school kids. We need leadership that understands and respects the constitutional limits of governmental powers.

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

Such a system could work, in theory. However, the “system” would have to consist of truly bipartisan evaluators without favoritism or political deal making and behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Local representatives who know their local needs best must be intimately involved. We do not need to expand the already bloated bureaucracy.

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?

Require photo IDs for voters. Strengthen ID requirements for mail ballots, including mandatory signature verification. Eliminate drop boxes. Immediately remove thousands of voters who have moved out of state or died. Drastically increase transparency for challengers and watchers during the voting process as well as in vote-counting and canvassing.

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?


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.


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