Candidates for Senate District 39
NAME: (Ted) Theodore Barela
OCCUPATION: Civil Engineering Project Manager
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Estancia
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current NM State Senator – Appointed April 2015; member of Senate Rules and Public Affairs Committees; member of the following interim legislative committees: Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy, Land Grant Committee, Investment Pension and Oversight, Indian Affairs, Water and Natural Resources, Radioactive and Hazardous Waste and Disabilities Concerns; mayor of Estancia, 5 years; Estancia trustee, 10 years; New Mexico Department of Transportation, retired after 26½ years, from equipment operator up to area project manager overseeing all new construction in District 3 including Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia Counties; served as an executive board member for the following: Estancia Basin Resource (Water) Association, EMWT Water Association, Estancia Valley Economic Development Association, Mid-Region Council of Governments, Rural Transportation Planning Organization; heir to two Land Grants, Tajique and Manzano; husband, father and grandpa.
EDUCATION: Estancia High School graduate; NMDOT continued education/training, 125 classes for a total of 1,127.7 training hours
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: tedbarela.com
(Please limit responses to 50 words or less; longer responses will be trimmed)
1. What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?
Tax reform and infrastructure investments.
2. 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?
Trimming spending, increasing taxes last resort. Rural communities barely get by now. Keep education, health care and public safety agencies in tact as much as possible. Need to maintain health and well-being of our seniors, given limited access to local grocery stores.
3. 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?
I oppose student test scores being part of teacher evaluations. It is not a fool-proof system. Any evaluation should have clear, attainable objectives. There are too many variables such as no control over students’ attendance. Also, students may not test well but still retain pertinent information.
4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico?
I oppose it because this should not just be a financial decision. Other states that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana can be used as models, if given enough time to adequately acquire data and statistics for the responsible analysis of the pros and cons.
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?
I support the current law of early-grade reading intervention. I prefer to look at the option of allowing the local school boards to put stricter retention policies in place for their districts, specifically for third graders, after allowing parents to have input through public hearings.
6. 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 do not support taking money out of the state’s permanent fund for unspecified programs. I believe early childhood education is a top priority, but we need to ensure any educational programs are strategic and effective, especially at early childhood and lower elementary levels.
7. Would you support or oppose the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings?
I would support it.
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?
I support making New Mexico a right-to-work state, allowing employees an option to choose whether they pay union fees. In rural New Mexico, jobs are a scarcity and any additional take-home money is critical to these families and to the well-being of the children in our communities.
9. 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 it.
10. 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?
The retirement fund underwent some reform, and we do not yet know the complete impact that will have on the solvency of the fund. I believe it is premature to consider allowing retired law enforcement officers to return to work and still collect pension benefits at this time.
11. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I support it.
12. How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future?
Current law allows students to move to NM their senior year, graduate from a NM high school and receive full scholarship benefits. In order to keep the program solvent, we should consider providing students with the scholarship for the same number of years that they attend a NM high school.
13. Does the state need to toughen its DWI laws? If so, how?
Whereas enhanced treatment services have significant, positive impacts, for public safety reasons, the repeat offender must and should be dealt with. I support tougher laws with enhanced penalties for dealing with those who drive on revoked licenses or who bypass the breathalyzer requirements.
14. Do you support or oppose opening all legislative meetings in connection with the budget to the public?
I support it.
15. Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?
I support raising it to $8.50.
16. 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 killing a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, first responder, child, elderly or any heinous killing.
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.