Election 2014: Incumbent Vs. Insider

The Race For New Mexico Governor

6 min read
Incumbent vs. Insider
( Rob Boudon )
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The position of Governor of New Mexico is the executive head of the state. Gubernatorial duties include enforcing law, appointing officers and preparing the budget to present to the Legislature. The 2014 race for New Mexico Governor is one of the hottest contests of the general election. The Alibi asked incumbent Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King to answer 10 questions. Numerous attempts to communicate with the Martinez campaign proved unsuccessful. So we’re unable to present answers from sitting governor Martinez, but challenger King took the time to reply to our questionnaire.

Election 2014 Susana Martinez

Republican, incumbent candidate for New Mexico Governor

Job Description: Executive head of the state. Enforces laws. Appoints officers. Prepares the budget to present to the Legislature.

Salary: $110,000/year

Term: Four years, limited to two consecutive terms

Website: susanamartinez.com

Election 2014 Gary King

Democratic candidate for New Mexico Governor

Website: garykingforgovernor.com

Alibi: New Mexico faces myriad issues in 2014. In your informed opinion, what issues deserve primary consideration and focus?

Gary King: The two most critical issues are bringing back the New Mexico economy from 50th in the nation and returning control of our schools to professional educators. Our families cannot tolerate four more years of Susana Martinez and her policies.

What should be done to address the environmental impact of mining, fracking and industrial pollution in New Mexico?

We absolutely must protect New Mexico’s groundwater. My record on the environment is solid. I have and will insist upon common-ground policies that both protect our water and air and fuel economic growth and jobs.

I am opposed to the Martinez Copper Mine Rule, which would give mine operators the right to pollute our groundwater and create a serious public health risk. I fought to block the Valley Meat Company’s horse slaughter plant in Roswell, N.M., for many reasons including its potentially harmful effect on groundwater.

I successfully fought to protect our clean air by defeating the Bush-EPA’s decision to permit the Desert Rock coal power plant in the Four Corners area by proving that the EPA had not taken proper consideration of the emission of hazardous air pollutants and had not considered the Endangered Species Act in issuing a permit for the facility.

Years ago as a state legislator, I secured passage of the landmark Mining Act, which established for the first time that mining companies operating in New Mexico must reclaim surface areas upon closure and establish long-term, self-sustaining ecosystems. As Governor, this track record will continue.

New Mexico’s economy is dominated by oil and gas production, federal government labs and tourism. Aside from film industry incentives, what should be done to encourage growth in other sectors of the state’s economy?

My economic package will focus resources on small business and support growth for the 99 percent of New Mexicans who do not benefit from big oil and gas and big corporations. Also raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour, so workers can purchase more at local businesses.

Could investment in public transit result in public safety improvements (read: fewer DWIs) and access to education, health care and employment?

As Governor, I will actively support putting more resources into public transportation and related infrastructure. Increasing access to education, health care and employment is a critical plank in bringing our economy back to life.

Do you support access to behavioral health and rehabilitation programs as alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent drug offenders?

Yes, I do. Especially in the case of first-time offenders.

Will advisory election results influence your consideration of policy? Will you consider voters in New Mexico’s capital and most populous city’s input on polling questions about funding mental health care by raising taxes and decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana?

I will definitely support the outcome of the ballot question in Bernalillo County. I am already on the record in support of decriminalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a misdemeanor. People should not have their lives ruined for possessing such small amounts. This will also reduce the amount spent on our corrections system. I also support increasing funding for providing treatment options for those with mental illness.

How concerned are you about the United States Department of Justice’s report, which revealed the Albuquerque Police Department’s pattern of unconstitutional, excessive use of force? What role, if any, do you think state government should play in overseeing its interior law enforcement and related crises?

State government should play a strong leadership role in upholding policies that prohibit the use of excessive force for city, county and state police. As Attorney General, I have opened an investigation into cases of excessive use of force in the APD. It is critical to provide adequate training for law enforcement to better deal with these situations.

What is the future of testing and evaluation for both students and teachers in New Mexico’s public school systems?

As Governor I will put education back in the hands of professional educators and put a moratorium on high-stakes testing. I will be a champion for all New Mexico children. I will put an end to the overtesting of our students in public schools. I will fight for smaller classrooms, better pay and more respect for our teachers and common-sense teacher evaluations. I will end the growing privatization of our public education system. Classrooms should be learning centers, not profit centers. Martinez’ corporate education regime deadens the learning experience for our children and is driving out good teachers. A vote for me is a vote for education.

How should we address the scarcity of access to behavioral health care (owing to both inadequate recruitment and institutional access) in metropolitan and rural communities in New Mexico?

Martinez’ plan of removing all the New Mexico-based behavioral health providers and outsourcing to Arizona corporations to save money is a failure. We have delivered fewer services, and her claims of rampant Medicaid fraud have been found to be unsubstantiated. Moreover, the Arizona providers are now requiring more funding next year. I will bring back the contract to local providers and return the levels of on-the-ground social workers and behavioral health providers, which will not only serve patients more effectively but bring jobs and money to New Mexico.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish by 2018?

I will revitalize the economy, reinvigorate our education system, protect our water and fight for social justice for all New Mexicans. We will focus on the 99 percent of us in creative, inspirational and inclusive ways that look and feel like the New Mexico we love.
Incumbent vs. Insider

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