NAME: Charles (Chuck) Wendler
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
OCCUPATION: Public School Teacher/Administrator (Retired)
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 37 years as a public servant in the educational sector
EDUCATION: B.A. Liberal Arts; M.A. School Administration
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.mendingamerica.com
What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?
1. Bring back and support manufacturing (jobs) – this is the base of a vibrant economy, and 2. create a more favorable business climate.
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?
I would first favor trimming state spending while secondarily increasing revenue. Like any well-run business, we need to conduct a thorough study of our spending. Distinguish between needs and wants. Encouraging and supporting manufacturing would provide a means for job creation, economic growth and, thus, revenue enhancement.
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?
Teachers are not the only “players” impacting test results. Students have many others that influence their learning: Remember the notion that “it takes a whole village to raise a child.” I oppose the current policy. As a former teacher and school administrator, I experienced a more professional approach.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico?
I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana.
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?
I oppose legislation that would automatically require a student to repeat the third grade. That decision should be left ultimately to parental discretion. Do not supplant their natural right and responsibility. The educational institution’s role is to provide the support, collaboration and guidance enabling parents to make prudent decisions.
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?
I am not in favor of taking more money out of the state’s largest permanent fund on an annual basis.
Would you support or oppose the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings?
Yes, I would support the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings.
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?
I support making New Mexico a right-to-work state.
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?
I oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide.
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?
I support allowing retired law enforcement officers to return to work. Their experience and wisdom is sorely needed in our troubled times.
Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I support opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party.
How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future?
Look at establishing qualifying criteria and/or reducing amount available per capita.
Does the state need to toughen its DWI laws? If so, how?
Yes, the state needs to toughen its DWI laws. Violators need to be held more accountable. Injuring or killing someone while under the influence is a choice. The consequence of such an inappropriate choice needs to be severe – early on.
Do you support or oppose opening all legislative meetings in connection with the budget to the public?
I support opening all legislative meetings in connection with the budget to the public.
Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?
I oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage. The Constitution addresses this issue in Article 1, Section 10: “No State shall …pass any… Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…”
Do you support or oppose reinstating capital punishment in New Mexico for specific crimes like killing a child or killing a law enforcement officer?
I support reinstating capital punishment for specific crimes.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any 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.