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Q&A: House District 17 candidate Cynthia Borrego | #education | #technology | #training | #hacking | #aihp


House District 17 candidate Cynthia Borrego (Courtesy Cynthia Borrego)

NAME: Cynthia D. Borrego

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: Small business owner

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Served COA president/V.president and chaired Land Use Committee, elected city councilor, Northwest Mesa. Served Board N.M. Municipal League and AMAFCA. Worked City/County urban planner, 28+ years, manager Redevelopment Agency, APAMember. NMPERA, 8 year board, 2x chair. Served V-Chair MRGCOG Transportation and Water Boards. …

EDUCATION: Master of Public Administration; Bachelor of Science, education; hours 2nd masters community and regional planning; numerous certifications real estate; telecommunications; law and investments.

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: cynthiaborrego.com

1. New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should the Legislature take to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?

New Mexico has competitive advantages in many sectors: Clean energy, aerospace, cybersecurity, film, water technology, value-added agriculture, outdoor recreation and more. The Legislature must use everything in our toolbox — tax policies, investments, education and vocational tech, workforce incentives — to build a broad-based economy that doesn’t rely on a single industry.

2. During the last regular legislative session, there was an unsuccessful push to make it easier to keep 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?

Yes. While serving on Albuquerque City Council, I worked with the Albuquerque Police Department in passing a memorial asking the Legislature to adopt such a measure. I’ll continue the work to strengthen penalties when a firearm is used and work to protect children from violent crime and increasing penalties against those who commit crimes.

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?

Fully fund public safety, community policing, recruitment/retention statewide. Officers should be supported and ensured retirement, and benefits are well invested, solvent, sound and available upon retirement. We need an “all-of-the-above” approach by the Legislature to fully fund public safety, community policing, recruitment and retention, and critical technology. The Legislature must tackle the root causes of crime.

4. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, do you support or oppose codifying abortion protections in state law? And do you support or oppose enacting any restrictions on abortion in New Mexico? 

Strongly support. I support a woman’s right to choose. These deeply personal decisions must remain between a woman, her family, and her health provider. Oppose

5. New Mexico has already implemented several gun control laws in recent years. Would you support or oppose legislation that banned or restricted the sale of AR-15-style semi-automatic weapons, such as raising the age limit for purchasing such weapons? And what about legislation making it a crime to fail to safely secure firearms around children?

Yes. Yes.

6. The state agency tasked with keeping New Mexico children safe has faced recent scrutiny over transparency issues and its handling of high-profile child abuse cases. What changes would you support to improve the operations of the Children, Youth and Families Department?

Protecting children’s safety and welfare is our most important responsibility. Critical staffing shortages must be addressed immediately, and average caseloads must be aligned to “best practice” standards. Training and safety protocols must be strengthened so overworked employees in stressful jobs are better equipped and prepared.

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

Changes to gross receipts taxes should be made in the context of comprehensive tax reform, including evaluating alternatives to GRT. In the meantime, the Legislature should repeal wasteful and ineffective GRT exemptions, deductions and credits, which would allow us to further reduce GRT rates, beyond the recent cuts.

8. New Mexico is currently the only state that does not pay its legislators a salary, though lawmakers do get per diem payments and can qualify for a legislative pension. Do you support or oppose a salaried Legislature and, if so, how much should lawmakers be paid?

I support professionalization of our Legislature, including year-round staff for constituent services and policy analysis. We should establish an independent commission to conduct a study comparing state legislatures around the country, and to set appropriate salaries based on comparable legislative schedules and workloads.

9. What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students, especially Native Americans and those who don’t speak English as a first language?

The Legislature must foster more community schools — a proven approach to improving educational outcomes and social well-being. We must also ensure universal broadband access across the state, increase the “at risk” index in the funding formula, create and support more hybrid educational programs for distance learning skills curricula.

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

Support.

11. In order to address climate change and air quality issues, do you support or oppose legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the state achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?

I fully support legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is real, and we’re seeing the devastating impacts every day. While serving on the City Council, I sponsored and passed a memorial recommending the Legislature develop strategies and solutions to tackle climate change, and I plan to continue that work.

12. Do you believe changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis? If so, do you believe such powers should be expanded or reduced and in what specific ways?

No.

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

I would support a system that reviews all capital outlay requests for viability, necessity and value. The system would result in recommendations that guide individual legislators’ projects. Benefits to implementing this methodology are limiting arbitrary actions, favoritism and political coercion.

14. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the legitimate 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? 

In the Legislature I will work every day to ensure every New Mexican has full access to vote in all of our elections, and that there are no barriers to have their voice heard.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

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

No.

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