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NAME: Chris Berkheimer
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Administrative law judge and mediator; state Homeland Security director; private attorney; national security and veterans adviser to former U.S. Rep. Bill Richardson; canvassing for various environmental groups; combat soldier (artillery) in Desert Storm; candidate for state Senate in 2004.
EDUCATION: BA, 1993; JD 2000, both from UNM.
1. If the state’s revenue downturn persists, would you favor trimming state spending or increasing taxes as a primary response? Please specify which cost-cutting or revenue-generating measures you would prefer.
2. Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?
3. Do you support or oppose the current policy of including student achievement as part of teacher evaluations? If you support the policy, what percentage of the evaluation should achievement account for.
4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico?
5. Current state law requires early-grade reading intervention. Coupled with that, do you support or oppose legislation that would automatically require some third-graders without adequate reading skills to repeat the grade level?
6. To provide more money for early childhood programs, do you support or oppose taking more money out of the state’s largest permanent fund on an annual basis? If you are in support, what sort of accountability measures would you favor?
7. Would you support or oppose the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings?
8. Do you support or oppose making New Mexico a so-called right-to-work state, by changing state labor laws so that nonunion employees would not have to pay union fees as a condition of employment?
9. Do you support or oppose banning abortions after 20 weeks in New Mexico?
10. Do you support or oppose a law banning coyote-killing contests? Do you support or oppose banning trapping and poisons on public lands?
11. Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?
12. Do you support or oppose a change that would earmark the state’s existing vehicle excise and gasoline tax revenue for state road projects?
13. Do you support or oppose allowing retired law enforcement officers to return to work while still collecting pension benefits to shore up department staffing, if the program protects the solvency of the retirement fund?
14. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
15. Do you support or oppose expanding the state’s three-strikes law for repeat violent offenders?
16. Do you support or oppose enacting a “cooling-off” period before former lawmakers could lobby the Legislature?
17. Do you support or oppose passing a law that would allow local governments to impose curfews on minors under the age of 16?
18. Do you support or oppose archiving webcasts of all legislative meetings for public access?
19. Do you support or oppose establishing a salary for legislators?
20. Should public employees, including teachers, be prohibited by law from serving in the Legislature? Please explain.
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.
1. Rooting out corruption and waste is the first step in fixing the state’s revenue crisis.
2. Support raising minimum wage to a level both workers and businesses can live with.
3. Our education woes go far beyond the limited issue of including student achievement as part of teacher evaluations. New Mexico needs a systemic change in its education policy.
5. On this narrow issue, yes, if they are given the attention needed to learn how to read. It is unconscionable that New Mexico has the worst literacy rate in the nation. It leads to many social ills, including crime and the lack of good jobs. Good education equals good jobs.
6. This issue needs more study.
7. This is the attorney general’s job. Appointing a board that does not answer to voters creates a situation that allows for abuse of the process, like board members using their position to settle personal or political scores.
10.This issue needs more study.
13. I am opposed to double-dipping.
17. Oppose as unconstitutional.
20. Yes. I believe it is a violation of the Hatch Act.
3. I have been charged with DUI twice. I have not been convicted on either charge. I have been charged with misdemeanor battery. This charge was dismissed. I have been charged with breaking a TRO. I pled to the charge. I am now seeking to have this overturned based on ineffective assistance of counsel and other constitutionally based claims. These charges are all related to my war induced diagnosis of PTSD.