Early voting for the 2020 general election is underway through Oct. 31, and Election Day is Nov. 3. For more information, visit sandovalcountynm.gov and click on “2020 Election Information” under “Quick Links.”

The Observer asked candidates running for Sandoval County offices and state legislative seats representing southern Sandoval County to answer a list of questions. We share their answers here.

Answers were not edited, and were held to a strict word limit.

Candace Gould, Republican 

Community of residence: Albuquerque

Candace Gould

Education: High School

Professional and political experience: My experience as a senator for 4 years gives me insight to the unique issues in NM. I’m a proven fiscal conservative, supporter of NM business, and an advocate for fighting crime. I have worked for small business my adult life, owning a small business for 15 years. I am the ED of a non-profit that serves foster kids, building programs that provide opportunity for foster kids to break the cycle of abuse, giving me insight to the issues of poverty in NM and a passion to lift NM out of poverty.

Have you ever been charged with a felony or DWI? No

How can people reach you if they have questions? candace@gouldforstatesenate.com

1. What restrictions or requirements should the state government be allowed to enact in public-health emergencies, and what should be the procedure for enacting them?

The legislature has not been able to represent their constituents under the current health order. While the governor needs to act swiftly in a crisis, the legislature needs to be able to have input over the long term. I support looking to reform these powers after this crisis is handled.

2. What, if any, changes should be made to funding and regulation for law enforcement in New Mexico?

Saftey is a top responsibly that government provides to the public. Funding should be appropriate to ensure public saftey effectively and efficiently. A review of our current policy’s is reasonable and amendments with input from law enforcement may be made to better serve the public.

3. What, if anything, should be done about the issues of racism and racial equality in New Mexico?

I have never had tolerance for racism. My work serving NM’s foster youth of every race, which is focused on breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect, has given me insight to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Opportunity is the best solution for inequities. Governments role is to ensure that all communities have the sufficient funding and support they need to provide a quality education. Education needs to include job skills training. NM needs to be business friendly, so everyone has opportunity for family sustaining jobs.

4. What should be done to help New Mexico’s economy recover from the pandemic?

Business needs to be flexible to deal with market changes like the COVID crisis. Government micromanaging business through regulations could ultimately force business to reduce their workforce or increase prices to accommodate laws that cost to implement. Tax reform that reduces tax while broadening the base to meet the public needs.

5. What are your views on universal health care?

Everyone needs to have access to quality healthcare. Preexisting conditions, Medicare and Medicaid need to be protected. I support covering catastrophic disease insurance to ensure medical costs don’t bankrupt families. Private insurance plays an important role to provide choices for patients and larger reimbursements to Doctors. Obama Care was created to fill in the gaps. Restructuring these programs into one large government run system needs careful study of the true services provided and cost. We need to be careful that a universal health care program does not drive out Doctors.

6. What would be your top priorities in the upcoming legislative session?

Economic recovery. Closing the COVID 19 education gap. Combatting our rising violent crime rates.

Katy Duhigg, Democrat

Community of residence: Albuquerque

Katy Duhigg

Education: JD from UNM School of Law in 2008, BA from University of Oregon in 2002

Professional and political experience: Election-protection and consumer-protection attorney, former Albuquerque City Clerk, former House Judiciary Committee Analyst, former Election Protection Coordinator for Common Cause New Mexico, former member of Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board and Bernalillo County Property Tax Valuation Protest Board, former executive secretary and governance counsel member of RFK Charter School.

Have you ever been charged with a felony or DWI? No

How can people reach you if they have questions? KatyDuhigg.com, (505) 600-1343, Katy@KatyDuhigg.com

1. What restrictions or requirements should the state government be allowed to enact in public-health emergencies, and what should be the procedure for enacting them?

Governors need to be able to respond to emergencies, but the Legislature must ensure these powers do not undermine the separation of powers vital to our government. We should maintain vigilant oversight and ensure that the scope of any governor’s emergency powers are not driven by partisanship, or vulnerable to abuse. I support bipartisan efforts to reform our emergency powers to ensure the Legislature has a role in determining which restrictions and requirements are appropriate, and how long they continue.

2. What, if any, changes should be made to funding and regulation for law enforcement in New Mexico?

I do not support defunding the police. Law enforcement needs to be fully funded, and the Legislature needs to take our crime problem seriously. We also need to make sure we balance the rights of police officers, most of whom are decent, honest people who do some of society’s most dangerous work, with the need to improve government accountability, encourage better official conduct, and give victims of government abuse their day in court.

3. What, if anything, should be done about the issues of racism and racial equality in New Mexico?

Eliminating racial inequities will require long term policy efforts to dismantle systematic inequality, combat economic disparities, and expand access to opportunity for all New Mexicans. Racial inequity and economic inequity go hand in hand, so I will pursue policies that put an end to predatory lending in New Mexico, fight against employer exemptions to anti-discrimination laws, and address regressive tax policies that disproportionately impact people of color in NM.

4. What should be done to help New Mexico’s economy recover from the pandemic?

The Legislature needs to create a bold economic stimulus package to provide sustained support for small businesses and put people back to work. Small businesses are the life blood of any economy. I will help our small businesses recover – and grow – by getting incentive and recovery funds into the hands of those who truly need it. We also need to reform our GRT code to help our small businesses compete, encourage entrepreneurship, and level the playing field between NM and out-of-state companies. I will also invest in job development and training, and fight to diversify our economy and make New Mexico a leader in renewable energy.

5. What are your views on universal health care?

Every New Mexican should have access to affordable, high-quality health care. As a consumer-protection attorney, I have spent years standing up to big insurance companies that have stacked the deck against regular people, and I will continue that work as State Senator. I’ll fight to lower prescription costs, protect those with pre-existing conditions, and create incentives to bring more medical providers to New Mexico in order to reduce wait times.

6. What would be your top priorities in the upcoming legislative session?

Economic stabilization and development, ensuring all New Mexicans have access to affordable, high-quality health care and protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, ensuring that schools have the funding they need to serve our kids during this unique time while building in accountability to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly, opening New Mexico’s primaries so that independent voters are not excluded from any part of our political process, and streamlining expenditures to eliminate waste and stretch existing dollars further.