Q&A: Miguel P. García, District 14 Candidate

District 14 candidate Miguel García. (Courtesy of Miguel García)

NAME: Miguel P. Garcia


OCCUPATION: Retired APS Spanish teacher; organic farmer; author

TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Ranchos of Atrisco

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: New Mexico State Representative, 1997-present, serving communities and neighborhoods in District 14 of Alamosa, Atrisco, Armijo, Barelas, Country Club, Five Points, South Broadway, Sky View West, Stinson/Tower and West Central neighborhoods south of Central SW. Co-chairman and founder of the Interim Legislative Committee on Land Grants, from 2003 to 2022. Chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee, from 2005 to 2014. Chairman of the Local Government, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee, from 2017 to 2022. Member of the Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, 2017 to present. Member of the Legislative Interim Committee on Health and Human Services and the Legislative Investment and Pension Oversight Committee. Twenty-three years as a Chicano community and civil rights leader in Atrisco and the South Valley before being elected in 1996.

EDUCATION: Master’s degree in Elementary Education, majoring in Spanish Immersion, University of New Mexico, 1993. Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, majoring in Spanish and History, University of Eastern New Mexico, 1973.


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?

Dependence on oil and gas revenues will exist as long as the legislator continues to have a laissez-faire relationship with this industry. Rising prices have left us with gasoline at $5 a gallon. Industrial pollution has exacerbated death and destruction around the world. Decoupling the industry by banning hydraulic fracturing is the start of diversification.

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?

Yes, on the understanding that detainees benefit from a speedy trial.

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?

Continue to fund homicide victim advocates. I will propose legislation to ban screeching and deafening modified mufflers on the roads; provide automated cameras for red lights and speeding related to the Motor Vehicle Code; create with DOT a “Brake on Yellow, Stop On Red” educational program.

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?

With respect to the issue of protecting the reproductive health rights of New Mexico women, it is reasonable to codify these protections in law and oppose any restriction in its entirety. Adhering to these practices reduces the risk of unsafe abortions, and therefore reduces the risk of maternal mortality.

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 making it a crime to not safely secure firearms around children?

I support a ban on military-style assault firearms like the AK-47 and AR-15. These firearms were designed for the battlefield to kill a human, not for target practice or deer and elk hunting. I support safety legislation and to make it illegal to make “ghost” firearms.

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?

CYFD has always seemed to lack a steadfast leader who is ready to weather the storms. The appointment of Barbara Vigil as CYFD Secretary is a step in the right direction. What would improve the speed of services and interventions with its customers would be a 24/7 work schedule.

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

Create a tiered tax for New Mexico-owned small start-up businesses with 50 or fewer employees, starting at 2.125% and increasing the rate by 1% per year for four years, fixing it at the current rate. Eliminate exemptions and deductions for businesses that have never grown since the break was granted.

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?

Yes, I support a salaried legislature. They should receive the average salary of a New Mexico elementary school teacher or the average salary of a municipal garbage collector, whichever is higher.

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?

The court should continue to provide monitoring monitors observing the progress of the four groups of students that the lawsuit disputed were constitutional violations by providing these students with sufficient education. We should offer differential pay to teachers who teach content in a language other than English.

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 fund 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?

Yes, I wholeheartedly support the November election initiative.

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 ?

Support. The state should strive to achieve 100% energy efficient buildings by 2025. It should achieve a 100% renewable energy goal for heating, cooling and powering our buildings. by 2028. It should create a 100% transition of their car fleets from gasoline to electric. or an alternative fuel by 2025.

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?

Our current governor has acted appropriately in consistently dealing with the COVID pandemic. The steps she took were timely in an attempt to reduce contamination and minimize fatalities. The process that has been undertaken serves as a model for us to use in future pandemics or health crises.

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

I might be able to support such a system if all 112 legislators had the same input in determining such a system. I would not support a system concocted solely by the Legislative Finance Committee.

14. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election.


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

Same-day voter registration until election day. Allow 16-year-olds to vote in school elections. Prohibit a person from filing a declaration of candidacy if they have been convicted of a crime.

Personal history

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


2. Have you ever been involved in personal or commercial bankruptcy proceedings?


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 arrests for DUI or felony. In 1971, while a sophomore at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, I was arrested for a sit-in at the president’s office. Chicano students demanded an end to discriminatory hiring practices of native Indo-Hispanos. In 1971, ENMU had approximately 110 professors. Only one was Chicano. Within administration and departments, no Chicanos or Chicanas were to be found as deans, directors, or supervisors, with a handful of Chicanas in the clerical field. On the other hand, more than 90% of janitorial and maintenance positions were filled by Chicanos.

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