Answered by Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-District 1), Darshan Patel (D-District 2) & Gabe Vasquez (D-District 2).

Yvette Herrell (R-District 2), Michelle Garcia Holmes (R-District 1), Louie Sanchez (R-District 1), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-District 3) & Alexis Martinez Johnson (R-District 3) did not respond.

How will New Mexico meet its 2030 climate goals while balancing revenue coming into the state from oil & gas production and hydrogen manufacture?

Stansbury: We must transition to a clean energy future, while diversifying our economy. That’s why I’ve cosponsored bills to lean into New Mexico’s strengths in clean energy, STEM, arts, and the outdoors.

Patel: I oppose new leases on federal land for oil and gas development. New Mexicans are already experiencing a warmer climate, earlier fire seasons, a historic drought and worsening air quality. I will stand up to Big Oil and secure our environment and jobs for future generations and lead a transition to a Green Economy, which will create jobs and replace revenues from oil and gas production.

Vasquez: We must aggressively create opportunities for the renewable energy economy to thrive in New Mexico, strengthen and enforce regulations on polluters, and support the workers in the fossil fuel industry. Oil and gas revenues will continue to support our state, but we must look beyond the fossil fuel economy to meet our climate goals and give families living in oil and gas communities a viable future.

What does an expanded sustainable energy program in NM look like to you?

Stansbury: New Mexico’s abundant sun and wind and entrepreneurial communities are poised for a clean energy future. With infrastructure funds and clean energy jobs we are ready to build a more resilient future.

Patel: Climate change is real. The science is settled, fossil fuels are contributing to rapid global warming. Congress needs to take bold action to reduce our reliance on coal, oil and gas so we can transition to a Green Economy in significant ways by 2030. That means historic investments in solar and wind energy. Innovation in geothermal and green hydrogen technology can make these safe and reliable options for sustainable energy in NM as well. 

Vasquez: Using the incredible solar and wind energy resources we have and becoming an exporter of clean energy. We can do so by supporting transmission and storage capacity, tech-transfer, small business development and innovation, and facilitating projects like SunZia.

What’s the plan to bring New Mexico out of the bottom five states in childhood education?

Stansbury: I am a sponsor of Early Education and Community Schools legislation, working to bringing home resources for early ed, K-12, trades, and college programs, and holistically address child well-being.

Patel: As a former public high school math teacher, I understand this issue. Universal early childhood education, professionalization of the workforce, more competitive salaries, expanded teacher residency programs to help develop and retain new teachers are all part of the solution. 

Vasquez: We must focus on families, parents and children – when their immediate needs are not met, our children will continue to have poor educational outcomes. That includes having stable, good-paying jobs, affordable access to healthcare and childcare, and stable housing. We should ensure that every student has equal access to resources, something lacking in our rural and Native American communities for too long. We must support our teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff as they take on the incredible responsibility of educating our children.

What is critical race theory? Should it be taught in New Mexico schools?

Stansbury: It’s a concept that examines the intersection between race and society—being used politically, not in our schools. Students should learn the facts about our history to chart a better path forward.

Patel: Critical thinking skills and the challenges and resiliencies in our community’s history should be taught in New Mexico schools. Understanding how race and racism impact our society can only help deepen our understanding of the issues that we face, and how we can move toward a better future. 

Vasquez: It’s an academic concept that isn’t taught in our schools. Republicans are only using it to distract from the fact that they have no plan to lower costs, raise pay, or improve health care for New Mexicans. As Congressman, I will always support teachers having the freedom to teach the complete facts without being censored by politicians.

How is New Mexico addressing the housing crisis here?

Stansbury: Housing is a human right. I am cosponsoring legislation, bringing resources home, and supporting community members facing homelessness and affordable housing needs. This is one of my top priorities.

Patel: There is more work to be done. We need to build more affordable housing units, expand the Section 8 housing assistance program, and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Secure housing for all is a good investment for our society.

Vasquez: We must do more to ensure that every New Mexican has an opportunity to have stable, livable, and dignified housing. Local governments must work with the state, and the federal government, to ensure that funds for affordable housing are used appropriately, effectively, and efficiently, while ensuring that we have support for families to afford their first mortgage or pay affordable rent. We absolutely need more federal funding to support more affordable housing programs.

Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election?

Stansbury: Yes.

Patel: Yes. 

Vasquez: Yes.

What is your personal-favorite outdoor activity?

Stansbury: I love our beautiful District. Whether it’s running or hiking in the Foothills or walking in the Bosque, there are so many amazing places here in NM-1. I love seeing our community out on the trails!

Patel: Running and hiking with my dog Rumi!

Vasquez: Hiking and fishing with my dog Suki.

These candidates did not respond to The Paper.’s requests for answers to the questionnaire for State Representatives in Districts 1,2 and 3: Louie Sanchez (R), Michelle Garcia Holmes (R), Jacquelyn Reeve (R), Joshua Taylor Neal (R), Yvette Herrell (R), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D), Alexis Martinez Johnson (R), Jerald Steve McFall (R)