Q&A: G. Andrés Romero, House District 10 Candidate

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District 10 candidate Andrés Romero (Courtesy Andrés Romero)

NAME: G. Andrés Romero

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Teacher, Atrisco Heritage Academy Secondary School

TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: State Representative, House District 10 (2015-present), Chairman, House Education Committee (2019-present).

EDUCATION: BA—History and Philosophy, University of New Mexico, MA—History, University of New Mexico

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: AndresRomeroForNM.com

1. New Mexico relies heavily on the petroleum and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by the recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should the Legislative Assembly take to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?

New Mexico should be a leader in clean energy and related jobs. We must also continue to strengthen our tourism and ecotourism sectors to break our link with extractive industries.

2. During the last ordinary legislative session, efforts were made unsuccessfully to facilitate the retention of certain defendants behind bars until trial. Should New Mexico law be changed to make it easier to hold individuals charged with violent offenses such as murder and first-degree child abuse behind bars until trial?

The American judicial system is based on the principle of innocence until proven guilty. Violent criminals, first degree child molesters and dangers to our communities must be considered for such punishment and the standard must be high and rigorous.

3. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and public safety as New Mexico faces one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation?

Crisis response teams comprised of trained mental health professionals should be at the forefront of the Legislative Assembly’s response to crime. Law enforcement agencies should have many opportunities to train in mental health and crisis situations. Law enforcement and communities also need access to mental health and social work professionals to address the root causes of violence in our communities.

4. Given the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, do you support or oppose codifying abortion protections into state law? And do you support or oppose the adoption of abortion restrictions in New Mexico?

I strongly support codifying abortion protections into state law without restrictions.

5. New Mexico has already implemented several gun control laws in recent years. Would you support or oppose legislation prohibiting or restricting the sale of AR-15 type semi-automatic weapons, such as increasing the age limit for the purchase of such weapons? And what about legislation that criminalizes failing to safely secure firearms around children?

I would support such common sense gun safety initiatives. We must take these steps to ensure the safety and security of our communities and our children.

6. New Mexico’s state agency responsible for keeping children safe has recently come under scrutiny over transparency issues and its handling of high-profile child abuse cases. What changes would you support to improve the operations of the Child, Youth and Family Service?

We provide all the necessary resources for our social workers to provide families with thorough investigations, care and mental health services. It is imperative that we recruit, train and retain our field social workers who are overstretched and overstretched.

7. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

Our tax code should not place the burden on our working families. Instead, we need to ensure that those who earn the most contribute the most.

8. New Mexico is currently the only state that does not pay its legislators a salary, although legislators receive per diems and are eligible for a statutory pension. Do you support or oppose a salaried legislature and, if so, how much should legislators be paid?

Yes, we need to modernize and professionalize our Legislative Assembly, including providing salaries to legislators. By offering a salary, we can attract citizens from more diverse backgrounds of New Mexican life to serve our state rather than the few who are able now.

9. What more, if anything, should the legislature do to respond to a court ruling that found that New Mexico does not provide sufficient education for all students, especially Native Americans and those who do not speak English as a first language?

We have made progress in recent years, but there is still much to do to meet the needs of students: increase in the number of educators (particularly in special education and bilingual classes), better access to auxiliary services for families , quality after-sales services, curricular and extracurricular activities and the expansion of technical career opportunities.

10. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, preschool, and child care assistance, and created a new fund Early Childhood Trust. Do you support or oppose the constitutional amendment proposed in the November ballot that would take more money out of the state’s permanent school fund to increase funding for early childhood services and K-education? 12?

I fully support and have supported this effort. Expanding high-quality early childhood services and investments in our K-12 system is a recipe for improving the livelihoods of future generations of New Mexicans.

11. In order to address climate change and air quality issues, do you support or oppose legislation that limits greenhouse gas emissions and requires the state to achieve net zero emissions of here 2050?

Climate change is an urgent crisis to which we must respond with appropriate action. I support efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 so that our children have a livable environment to benefit from the investments we make in their education.

12. Do you think any changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis. If so, do you think these powers should be expanded or reduced and in what specific ways?

The executive must have the ability to act quickly to deal with the urgency of pandemics and foreign crises that only happen once in a lifetime as long as the state remains a part-time, unpaid legislature.

13. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital expenditure funding?

No, legislators who are elected by their communities should always be able to work with their communities to fund projects they deem necessary and appropriate for their own communities.

14. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election? (Yes or No answer only, please)

Nope!

15. What changes, if any, would you support to New Mexico’s election laws?

As a state, we should implement automatic voter registration, improve our mail-in voting, provide secure ballot boxes, and allow 16-year-olds to vote in school board elections.

Personal history

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been subject to any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in personal or commercial bankruptcy proceedings?

No.

3. Have you ever been arrested, charged, or convicted of a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony in New Mexico or any other state? If yes, explain.

Speeding.

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