Kathleen M. Cates, Democrat
Community of residence: Rio Rancho
What are your qualifications for this position?
I have supported this District for over 15 years as a homeowner, executive of several nonprofits, small-business owner, Chamber of Commerce member, Rotarian, and public-school programs. I have spent the last 15 years advocating for funding, and law/policy changes that support veterans, wildlife, individuals with disabilities and children. I have turned around several nonprofits and companies from failing to thriving. As an executive I have had the opportunity to manage organizations with as many as 150 employees and have been working with Legislators to identify needs in the community. I am transparent and accessible, which I believe is essential for community service.
Have you ever been convicted of or do you have any pending charges of a felony, DWI or domestic violence?
No. I have had Department of Defense Clearance and cleared background for the NM Department of Health, CYFD, and Rio Rancho Public School System.
If elected, what would your short- and long-term goals be?
1. Our rights are being attacked and I will work immediately on protecting accessibility for voters which would include creating consistent voting dates and locations.
2. I will do everything to protect Human Rights, People’s Rights which includes Women’s Rights. Protecting women’s right to make healthcare decision that are being threatened by government interference will be one of my highest priorities.
3. I will look for investment opportunity in our infrastructure that will increase economic growth without jeopardizing the environment.
4. Assuring that housing is available for multiple incomes is essential to the strength of our community.
How can people reach you if they have more questions? VoteforKathleen@Gmail.com
Should the legislature reconsider or modify the legalization of recreational marijuana?
No, but I do believe we need to investigate into the cost and quality of drug tests that can identify when individuals are under the influence of marijuana. These tests have been in development in Europe and field tested in Colorado. Current common drug tests do not identify if a person is currently under the influence, only if they have used marijuana in the last few months. This is essential to determine if individuals are driving or working under the influence. I do support the legalization of marijuana but want some processes in place to assure safety and support for our law enforcement, businesses, and community members.
What industries and/or types of businesses should the state consider attracting to New Mexico to help diversify the economy? Why?
Our State generates revenue through timber, gas, and oil. Our state’s budget is at the mercy of having only 3 strong revenue streams. When gas is expensive, New Mexico can invest in our State but when gas and oil are low, we are under funded in many of our essential services. We are told that New Mexico is a poor State, and yet we have one of the largest Permanent Funds compared to other States regionally. We need to diversity our revenue streams and use some of our Permanent Fund to invest in infrastructure.
It is essential that we attract and create new jobs that pay a living wage.
Our natural resources are our strongest asset. We should capitalize and protect our diverse landscapes to be used in the film and hospitality industries. We should be the innovators and model for wind and solar farms. Strengthening our revenue by this diversity, as well as a base financial source through the Permanent Fund, can support stability. Consistent investment is essential to create strong foundations for any large organization.
What can the state do to improve students’ test scores and education in general?
Improving test scores will take the entire community, not just the school systems, and will need a long-term investment. I will support the Early Childhood Education Amendment and believe this will create a solid foundation to build an education system we are proud of. New Mexico is a State of science, innovation, history, culture, and art. We can do this.
How can the state balance the interests of legacy energy industries, i.e., oil and gas, with renewable energy?
We must audit oil and gas sites to make sure wells are capped correctly and environmental requirements are in compliance. We need to freeze additional oil and gas investments and take this time of increased funding to protect our diverse landscape to market our hospitality and film industry. We should be building the infrastructure needed to supply the region with alternative forms of energy.
In what ways can the state help ease the effects of inflation and supply-chain issues on New Mexicans?
The State has already provided some tax relief on gas and some retail items and will be issuing tax rebates. It is not enough. I am willing to look at ways our State can support essential items like fuel, housing, and food.