Q&A: House District 22 Candidate Augustine Montoya

House District 22 Candidate Augustine Montoya (Courtesy of Augustine Montoya)

NAME: Augustin Montoya

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Employee at Claunch Pinto Soil & Water Conservation

TOWN OF RESIDENCE: estancia

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Legislative Assistant 2021 New Mexico House of Representatives Regular Session; New Mexico House of Representatives 2022 Regular Session Committee Assistant; Torrance County Office of Elections 2021 2021 Special and Local Elections; Jessica Velasquez 4NM 2018 & 2020; Claunch Pinto Soil & Water Conservation District 2016 to present; 2018 Working Study of UNM’s Land Grants Studies Program; Jerry & Augy’s Woodyard 23 years old (family business)

EDUCATION: Foreign Language Honors Degree—East Mountain High School; Bachelor of Liberal Arts — UNM; focused on pre-law and Chicano/a studies

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: anm4nm.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?

The New Mexico Legislature must: 1. Attract new industry with low water impact. 2. Increase tourism opportunities. 3. Hold today’s big corporations accountable for their share to our state. 4. Ensure that the legal cannabis industry is sustainable for the long term. #DiversifytheStatebudget

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?

Guilty criminals must be brought to justice and violent criminals must be stopped from continuing to harm our communities. We also need to look for new ways to address recidivism and mental health issues in New Mexico.

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?

1. Expand access to mental and behavioral health care. 2. Rehabilitate non-violent criminals to prevent recidivism. 3. Ensure that violent criminals are brought to justice and prevented from reoffending. 4. Extend resources to 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?

Banning abortion simply changes where and how safe abortions are sought. We see it in states that have imposed bans, people have just gone elsewhere. Therefore, we must ensure that if an abortion is requested, it is safe and accessible. Codification of abortion into state law is necessary and restrictions prevent safe access.

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?

Restrictions such as background and mental health checks are essential. Additionally, I believe our children need to be educated about gun safety. If a crime is committed by a child, the parents must be responsible for not raising their child properly and preventing the crime from happening. #responsibleowner

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?

Ensure that the mismanagement of children in New Mexico is properly investigated and that CYFD is held accountable for its actions or inactions. In addition, implement programs that monitor these operations. Plus, support programs like CASA that advocate for the best interests of the child.

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

I would support legislation that ensures our main street businesses and large corporations are on a level playing field. This means there are no significant tax breaks for companies that unfairly compete with our local businesses.

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?

Professionalize the state legislature and ensure ordinary people can craft the policies that affect us. However, tie the salary to the median income of the state or our educators, so lawmakers understand the economic impacts facing our working class families and communities.

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?

1. Ensure linguistic accessibility in each school. 2. More funding to complete coordination. 3. Involve indigenous and indigenous communities in the policy development process. 4. Pay all educators appropriately and provide appropriate benefits. 5. Expand broadband Internet connectivity in Native and Native communities and rural areas of New Mexico. 6. Support the recommendations of the Martinez/Yazzie decision.

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 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 support the amendment and finding new ways to secure critical funding for our schools and, ultimately, our students and educators.

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 by 2050 ?

I support strong legislation ensuring we reduce our emissions and reach net zero by 2050.

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?

I believe that emergency action should be balanced with the adoption of a full-time, paid legislature. That’s why we have checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches.

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

I believe that all capital expenditures should be assessed and reported to ensure funds are directed to projects that truly meet community and program needs.

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)

No.

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

I would like to see laws that expand access to the vote and protect election officials, county clerks and voters from harassment and undue influence at the ballot box.

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

No.

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