Q&A: House District 23 candidate Ramon Montano


House District 23 candidate Ramon Montano (Courtesy of Ramon Montano)

SURNAME: Ramon Montano

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratically

OCCUPATION: Senior Account Manager Honeywell

PLACE OF RESIDENCE: Rio Rancho

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: President of the New Mexico School Boards, President of the Rio Rancho Board of Education, President of the Las Vegas City Schools Board of Education, Chair of the Sandoval Ethics Commission. Attorney for 20 years.

TRAINING: Degree in Political Science

CAMPAIGNS WEBSITE: ramonmontano4nm.com

1. New Mexico relies heavily on the oil and natural gas industry to generate revenue to fund government programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should lawmakers take to diversify the economy and government revenue base?

New Mexico needs to look for alternative sources so we don’t just rely on oil and gas. We need a long-term plan that offers alternative options for our state as we work with the oil and gas industry to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and methane pollution.

2. During the last regular legislature there was an unsuccessful push to make it easier to keep certain accused behind bars pending trial. Should New Mexico law be changed to make it easier to hold people accused of violent crimes, such as first-degree murder and child molestation, behind bars pending trial?

I will propose legislative changes to the current pre-trial detention. We need to close the “revolving door” that lets repeat and violent offenders back onto the streets. New Mexico needs a system that allows us to identify violent and dangerous people so we can hold them accountable.

3. Given that New Mexico faces one of the highest rates of violent crime in the nation, what steps should lawmakers take to address crime and public safety?

We need to make sure we address mental illness, drug issues and homelessness. As government, we need to strengthen the legal environment and ensure that law enforcement agencies are able to tackle current and emerging forms of crime head-on.

4. In light of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision, Roe v. Wade to repeal the codification of abortion protections in state laws? And do you support or oppose the introduction of abortion restrictions in New Mexico?

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Women should have access to quality health care and contraception when they need or want it. I think a woman should have a say in what she does with her body. A woman should have options, support, and resources if she has problems or concerns managing her pregnancy.

5. New Mexico has implemented several gun control laws in recent years. Would you support or oppose legislation banning or restricting the sale of AR-15 style semi-automatic weapons such as: B. raising the age limit for the purchase of such weapons? And what about legislation that criminalizes failing to safely secure firearms around children?

As ex-cops, we can reduce gun violence while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. I support strict background checks, and we must keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, other violent criminals, or anyone who has shown signs of danger to themselves or others.

6. The state agency charged with keeping children safe in New Mexico 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 work of the Children, Youth and Family Department?

CYFD needs to improve its system as soon as possible, e.g. by hiring more staff, reducing case numbers, revising training protocols and creating new critical incident teams to review cases. CYFD must bring everyone involved together so that no child is left in a critical or dangerous situation. Transparency and control are urgently needed.

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

New Mexico needs to overhaul our GRT and look for ways to improve our system for businesses and taxpayers. I will work to pass legislation that will help make New Mexico a more business-friendly state and reduce over-regulated policies that hurt our business.

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8. New Mexico is currently the only state that does not pay a salary to its legislators, although legislators can receive daily payments and qualify for a state pension. Do you support or oppose a salaried legislature, and if so, how much should the legislature be paid?

I am opposed to a clerk legislature. We have nothing to do with voting or creating policies that affect our own salaries, it’s just not right. I have served four terms as a school board member and have never received a paycheck for my service! We are here to serve the people.

9. What else, if anything, should lawmakers do to challenge a court ruling that found New Mexico does not provide an adequate education for all students, particularly Native Americans and those who do not speak English as a first language?

The New Mexico Public Education Department must provide school districts with local control so they can make the best educational decisions for their students. New Mexico continues to rank at the bottom compared to other states. School districts must spend a larger percentage of their budget on tuition and a smaller percentage of their budget on general administrators.

10. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs such as home visitation, pre-kindergarten and child care assistance and established a new early childhood care trust. Do you support or oppose the proposed constitutional amendment in the November vote that would pull more money from the state’s permanent school fund to increase funding for early childhood services and K-12 education?

I support early childhood education for all children in New Mexico. Providing quality early childhood learning experiences, including pre-kindergarten, helps families prepare their children for achievement and success. Investing in quality, publicly funded universal pre-kindergartens is essential to building a prosperous future for New Mexico’s children.

11. Do you support or oppose greenhouse gas emission cap laws that require the state to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 to address climate change and air quality?

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I support finding ways to limit our greenhouse gas emissions in our state. Despite all the complexity and the associated challenges, we must significantly increase investments and capital expenditures. We will see a transformation of jobs across the economy affecting some occupational sectors.

12. Do you think changes to a governor’s emergency powers should be made during a pandemic or other time of crisis? If so, do you think such powers should be increased or reduced and in what specific way?

I would support a required statutory authorization for a declared emergency that extends beyond a month. We should have a majority in both houses to end one. We must find a cooperative way to safely manage an emergency or pandemic that does not negatively impact the New Mexicos.

13. Would you support a performance-based rating system to determine how governments are spending their investment funds?

I support an open and transparent process so all New Mexicans know how their tax dollars are being spent. The capital outlay is a very important process, legislators must ensure that the request for provision is a community priority and a necessity that benefits their taxpayers.

14. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he is the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election? (Please only yes or no answers)

no

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

We must do everything we can to encourage New Mexicans to exercise their right to vote. We could improve our voter turnout by educating our citizens about why voting is so important. I also support the practice of allowing voters to vote early or absentee.

personal background

1. If you are a business owner, have you or your business ever been subject to a state or federal tax lien?

no

2. Have you ever been involved in personal or company insolvency proceedings?

no

3. Have you ever been arrested, charged or convicted of drunk driving, a misdemeanor or felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.

no



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