The Observer asked primary elections candidates running for county offices or legislative seats representing some part of Sandoval County to fill out questionnaires sharing their views.

Responses were not edited for anything except word count.

County commission, state representative, sheriff and magistrate judge candidates were limited to 800 words, while probate judge and assessor candidates were limited to 500 words due to having fewer questions to answer.

If candidates went over the limit, their responses were cut from the bottom until they exactly met the word limit.

Alan Martinez

Alan Martinez

Republican

Community of residence: Santiago Neighborhood in West Bernalillo

What are your qualifications for this position? I served with the Department of Veteran Services for 25 years, 15 as the Legislative Director and 9 as the Deputy Secretary.  I developed policy for all legislative issues regarding New Mexico’s Veterans and their Families.

Have you ever been convicted of or do you have any pending charges of a felony, DWI or domestic violence? No

If elected, what would your short- and long-term goals be? My short-term goals are:

  1. Work to change the GRT that affects middle class and lower income New Mexicans.
  2. Work to improve services to our veterans and seniors.
  3. Work with local law enforcement agencies to improve funding, training, and support.

My long-term goals:

  1. Work to improve the Capital Outlay process
  2. Work to bring more transparency to State Government and the Legislature
  3. Work with local small business owners to improve the business tax structure that is currently too cumbersome and not conducive to entrepreneurs.

    How can people reach you if they have more questions? My website is www.AlanMartinezforHouseDistrict23.com

Should the legislature reconsider or modify the legalization of recreational marijuana? I think the legislature did not take into consideration the unintended consequences, such as the increase in DUI, the ability for law enforcement to quickly determine whether a person is under the influence, the increase usage by minors, and the effects on public safety.  I think these issues should be revisited.

What industries and/or types of businesses should the state consider attracting to New Mexico to help diversify the economy? Why? We need to take advantage of our scientific labs and military bases and increase support for those start ups that can use the technologies being developed by our federal partners.  Technology start ups can bring good jobs to New Mexico, but we need to make New Mexico more business friendly by modifying the way our GRT pyramids the taxes that are paid by local industries.

What can the state do to improve students’ test scores and education in general? We now invest more per student than any of our neighboring states do.  We need to ask the tough questions like, why are we not seeing the same test scores as those states that invest less.  We also need to support parents and encourage them to get more involved with their children’s education.  Our children are our most valuable asset and we need to do better for them.

How can the state balance the interests of legacy energy industries, i.e., oil and gas, with renewable energy? A balanced approach with energy is the best way forward.  For much too long it has been either/or.  The fossil fuel industry has been the savior for state coffers, yet legislators continuously demonize the industry all the while spending their tax dollars.  We need to invest in renewable energy without punishing the oil and gas industry.  We need to look at new ways to develop wind, solar, and other renewable sources for our energy.  The dependence on oil and gas is not going away so why not make them part of the solution.

In what ways can the state help ease the effects of inflation and supply-chain issues on New Mexicans? We need to look at our tax structure as a whole.  Higher inflation means less disposable dollars in the pockets of New Mexicans, add that to our high tax structure and you get the results of more people facing poverty, food insecurity, and a lowered ability to thrive.  We also need to find ways to support our truckers and railroad industries. 

Infrastructure has a direct impact on the supply chain.  New Mexico has long been the “orange cone” capital of the country.  It seems like I-40 is always under construction.  A fresh look at how we maintain our bridges and roadways could reduce the number of construction zones on our major highways.  We also need to take a look at improving the funding for tractor-trailer parking along these roadways in order to make them cleaner and safer for long haul truckers.

 

Ramon Montano

Ramon Montano

Democrat

Community of residence: Rio Rancho for the past 14 years

What are your qualifications for this position? I have over 20 plus years advocating for public safety, education and healthcare at the legislature and in Washington DC. I have had the honor and privilege of being elected to 4 terms as a school board member and school board President. I was the past President of the New Mexico School Board Association and the past President of the Rio Rancho Board of Education. I currently serve as the Chairman of the Sandoval County Ethics Board which I was appointed by the Sandoval County Commission. I have a degree in Political Science and I have invested most of my life working to help the citizens of my community and state.

Have you ever been convicted of or do you have any pending charges of a felony, DWI or domestic violence? No

If elected, what would your short- and long-term goals be? My short-term goal is to make the legislative process more transparent and more accessible for all-New Mexicans. The taxpayers should know how our state dollars are being spent at all times. My long-term plan includes supporting legislation that protects New Mexico’s ground water. New Mexico’s ground water resources are of vital importance in sustaining life and must be preserved and protected for both present and future generations so we can have a great quality of life.

I will support legislation that funds our first responders who deserve adequate funding to help keep our communities safe.

I will support legislation that gives local decision-making authority to school boards and opposes any legislation or executive action that restricts the ability of locally elected school boards to respond to the needs of their school districts. We need to allow school boards and Superintendents to continue to oversee their budgets to make sure that our tax dollars are reaching the classrooms and they can continue to retain good quality teachers and staff.

 I will support legislation that improves the healthcare for our veterans so that they are able to receive the treatment they need in order to maintain a good quality of life. I will also support legislation that will provide programs for veterans who are homeless and who are in need of food and shelter.

I will support legislation that provides resources to our small businesses in New Mexico. I will support policies that allows our businesses to grow without excess regulation and high taxes to stifle entrepreneurship.

How can people reach you if they have more questions? Please call, text or email me at 505-514-3715 and nmsp10-8@hotmail.com. Website com

Should the legislature reconsider or modify the legalization of recreational marijuana? Yes, the goal was to protect small businesses from being crushed by big farms or well-financed conglomerates. The protections also were supposed to give existing cannabis businesses a chance to transition to the legal, taxable recreational marijuana industry. The other issue is protecting medical cannabis, protecting veteran access to inexpensive medical cannabis, protecting patients who were in the program prior to recreational legislation. I will also look at the negative outcomes that may arise from such legislation such as increased crime, traffic safety, and public health.

What industries and/or types of businesses should the state consider attracting to New Mexico to help diversify the economy? Why? We need to recruit the leading companies that operate in many sectors including automotive, software, electronics, medical and technology. We need to create relationships with global companies as well supporting career technical education programs in our schools to help promote local entrepreneurship such as mechanics, plumbers, and electricians.    

What can the state do to improve students’ test scores and education in general? The PED must allow local school districts to have local control to make the best decisions they can for their students, staff, and communities. We must hold our districts accountable for students’ success. New Mexico continues to rank among the bottom compared to other states. I feel that our students would see an increase to student performance if school districts would spend a larger percentage of their budgets on instruction and a lower percentage of their budgets on general administrators. A majority of education dollars that school districts receive should be targeted in the classroom towards instruction. We must also acknowledge that student performances can also increase if school districts hired quality leadership at the Superintendent level down to the principals. We must have quality teachers, educational assistance and support staff. We must ensure that they are well compensated and feel valued.

How can the state balance the interests of legacy energy industries, i.e., oil and gas, with renewable energy? The oil and gas industry has been a significant part of our economy and we depend on it heavily since a very large portion of the state budget is funded by oil and gas. When oil prices are high the state’s revenues are good, but when the prices are low, our state suffers financially. That’s why we need to look at alternative source so we don’t only rely on oil and gas. We need to continue to work on a long-range plan that will provide alternative options for our state while working with the oil and gas industry to clean up greenhouse emissions and methane pollution.

In what ways can the state help ease the effects of inflation and supply-chain issues on New Mexicans? We must work with our federal leaders to help find a fix to inflation and to decrease our federal debt. The rampant inflation is