Timothy M. Keller
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Business economist
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Six years representing Albuquerque’s International District in the State Senate, including the past two elected into leadership as the majority whip.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s of business administration, finance and art history, University of Notre Dame; master’s of business administration with honors, Harvard Business School.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.TimKellerforNewMexico.com
CANDIDATE STATEMENT: My wife and I were born and raised in New Mexico and are grateful to have the opportunity to raise a family in our home state. I left to study at Notre Dame and worked in many of our country’s most vibrant cities, as well as in Cambodia. During that time, I developed a strong belief that one significant difference between prosperous communities and those that struggle is transparent and accountable government. I know we can make better choices for our state that push big ideas forward and, bring integrity to government to help New Mexico realize its full potential.
1. What do you consider the most important tasks for the next state auditor?
As auditor, I will lead with integrity and help New Mexico make better choices at all levels of government. Whenever public money is at stake, the auditor can advocate to prevent waste, deter corruption and safeguard our tax dollars by ensuring public money is spent in the most transparent, effective and accountable manner. The auditor is the financial watchdog for more than 900 public entities including counties, schools, agencies, conservation districts and more. With more than $10 billion annually spent by these entities, the use of their funds becomes critical to our economy and well-being of communities around the state.
2. What would you do to achieve these objectives?
I will assess the use of out-of-state contractors by agencies, cities and schools to highlight potential for creation of local jobs. I aim to proactively examine the estimated $900 million of unspent money “sitting on the sidelines” in cash balances, excess bonding capacity and unfilled positions. I will work with the Legislature and executive branch to evaluate opportunities to utilize these funds for critical services, infrastructure, “big idea” education reforms and more. Similarly, I plan to evaluate the billions our state gives away in special-interest tax breaks to gauge their effectiveness in creating jobs and helping all New Mexicans.
3. What are your qualifications for this position?
As a state senator, I challenged the status quo by proposing hundreds of bills designed to fix broken government. Adding qualifications to the Public Regulation Commission, restructuring the State Investment Council and strengthening the local contracting preference are examples of legislation I’ve sponsored into law to move our state forward. Elected into Senate leadership as the majority whip, I demonstrated the ability to lead with my values and maintain a strong record of bipartisanship, co-sponsoring the most legislation with the opposing party. I also have 10 years of professional business experience, a finance degree and an MBA.
4. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
5. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
6. 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.
When I was in high school, I was charged with a petty misdemeanor for being at a party with underage drinking. The charge was promptly dropped.