NAME: Rebecca Morgan, M. Div.
POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat
OCCUPATION: Clergy/Business Owner
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Farmington
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Member Complete Streets Advisory Committee, SJRMC Ethics Committee
EDUCATION: Ft. Lewis College, BA; Iliff School of Theology, M. Div.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.rebeccamorganforstatesenate.org
What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?
Most growth in our economy appears to be in the healthcare and film industries, so we need to help strengthen those areas. We need to continue to foster growth in natural gas, renewable energy and communications/broadband technology. We need to improve the quality of education and implement better job training, retraining and placement programs.
If the state’s revenue downturn persists, would you favor trimming state spending or increasing taxes as a primary response? Which cost-cutting or revenue-generating measures would you prefer?
One or the other or a combination might be necessary. A third alternative is to also focus resources on economic development that would further help diversify and improve the tax base. Before the Legislature starts trimming agencies’ operating budgets, every agency should do its own internal review and trim its own budget request.
Do you support or oppose the current policy of including student test scores as part of teacher evaluations? If you support the policy, what percentage of the evaluation should the test scores account for?
We have an over-testing problem. We have forced our teachers to “teach to the tests” rather than teach to the student. We need a fair and professional means to evaluate those in the teaching profession; however, I do not believe the test scores of students should be the primary factor in those evaluations.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico?
It is time to let voters have that conversation. The medicinal benefits and revenue impact of cannabis derivatives cannot be ignored. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we need only work with other states’ lawmakers that have implemented recreational marijuana use to see what is and isn’t working and what unintended consequences they have experienced.
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 grade level?
Rather than focus on what happens when something doesn’t measure up, I’d like us focus on how we can help children who are lagging behind. Our goal should be a successful and earned transition for the student. Incoming and outgoing teachers and the parents should be included in those conversations
To provide more money for early childhood programs, which are unspecified, 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?
Indicators show us that successful early childhood education returns that initial investment back with economic returns to our state’s workforce. I support previous legislation to use a percentage of the approximate $14 billion dollar permanent fund revenues, which includes a safety valve to ensure the fund continues to see positive growth.
Would you support or oppose the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings?
I fully support creating an independent ethics commission for New Mexico to help make our public officials and state government more transparent and accountable. In addition, I support developing operating procedures and rules and standards that would be applicable to all elected officials operating in their official capacities.
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.
Union members only account for 6 percent of New Mexico’s workforce and are not required to pay dues. Right-to-work is just an attempt to dismantle worker rights, pay workers less, have the right to get fired for no cause and hurt middle class families.
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?
As owner of Namaste House Assisted Living and former hospice chaplain, I believe a compassionate and responsible response should include a range of options, best addressed by the terminally ill person, medical providers and others they desire (family, pastors/spiritual advisors …). A continuing conversation with those parties and legislators is appropriate.
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 does not negatively impact the solvency of the retirement fund?
If the program does not negatively impact the solvency of the retirement fund, then, yes, I could support that proposal. However, recent proposals that even some police officer organizations oppose because they would cause harm to the retirement fund, I could not support.
Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I would support.
How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future?
To allow the state’s lottery scholarship program to be kept solvent into the future would only require that the amount of money given through these scholarships be limited to the available amount of revenue generated through the state’s lottery scholarship program.
Does the state need to toughen its DWI laws? If so, how?
The laws, the enforcement and the judicial application sometimes appear to run not in concert with each other. We must do a better job of keeping repeat offenders off of our streets. I also believe there is room for investment in drug, alcohol and mental health services in our state that would help in this area.
Do you support or oppose opening all legislative meetings in connection with the budget to the public?
I believe in transparency and accountability of our public servants and our state government.
Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?
Yes, I strongly believe that we need to raise the state’s minimum wage. Initially, I believe it should be raised to at least $8.50; however, I support implementing a progressive annual increase to $10 per hour. Keeping our state’s workforce at or below poverty level is not a building block for further economic development of our state.
Do you support or oppose reinstating capital punishment in New Mexico for specific crimes like killing a child or killing a law enforcement officer?
While I grieve with the families of the victims and denounce these most egregious crimes with every fiber of my being, I do not support the reinstatement of capital punishment. I do believe convicted perpetrators of these crimes should be removed permanently from public access.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been subject of any state or federal tax liens?
No, I have not been personally nor has my business, Namaste Assisted Living, ever been subject to state or federal tax liens.
Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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.