LAS CRUCES — Democratic incumbent Raymundo Lara and Republican challenger Mark Vieth will face off in November in the 2022 general election race to represent New Mexico House District 34 in southern New Mexico.
Lara has held the position since being elected in 2018 and sworn in in January 2019. The district encompasses southern Doña Ana County, including Sunland Park, Santa Teresa, Chamberino, and other settlements. Lara is a resident of Chamberino and works as an educational coordinator, according to her legislative profile.
Vieth is a resident of La Mesa and served in the United States Army and New Mexico National Guard for several decades. He also worked with US Customs and Border Protection along the US-Mexico border for 14 years.
The Sun-Newsasked both candidates a series of questions regarding critical topics impacting southern New Mexico. Discover the questions and their answers.
What role, if any, do you think the government should play in a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy?
Ra7mundo Lara: “I don’t believe the government should have a role in these medical decisions.”
Lara voted in favor of Senate Bill 10 in the 2021 regular legislative session which repealed the state law criminalizing abortion. At the time, the bill aligned New Mexico with the findings of the United States Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade. Since deer was reversed in the 2022 decision of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationNew Mexico does not legally restrict abortion procedures.
Mark Vieth: “The federal government should absolutely not play a role in this, which happened with the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade. Constitutionally, that is not the job of the federal government. It’s supposed to be a state regulation.
Vieth said he believes life begins at conception, but the state of New Mexico is unlikely to completely get rid of abortion in his lifetime. He said he would like to see regulations in place prohibiting abortion if there is a fetal heartbeat – usually able to be detected around the sixth week of pregnancy.
The state expects increased tax revenue from the oil and gas and cannabis industries. How do you think the state should spend this money?
LR: “Since most oil and gas revenue is one-time or non-recurring money, I think we should invest that money in infrastructure – roads, bridges, water.”
Lara said the money should be invested statewide, but will have a particularly big impact on more rural communities such as those depicted in HD 34 where people still don’t have access to water. potable or natural gas.
He said that because revenue from the cannabis industry is recurring and he expects it to continue to grow, the money should go into the general fund. This provides the opportunity to redirect this money to various areas of the state as needed.
MV: “We don’t want you to smoke and they came out with cannabis which is intoxication and smoking and I think they totally did it out of greed…I just think it was a bad thing.”
Vieth said he views the earnings as blood money — and therefore unusable — because there have likely been accidents in the state where people have died from someone intoxicated with cannabis.
Regarding oil and gas revenues, Vieth said the state determined long ago how to use the money generated by this region and would not pretend to say how to use the money without going back to reconsider the laws. current.
Should the legislator enshrine in law rebuttable presumptions to allow judges to detain accused but not convicted persons in prison? Why or why not?
LR: “The judges are those who are there. Lawyers are the ones who are there to decide these things, and I have full confidence in the judiciary that they will make the best decisions for the public when it comes to detaining dangerous people.
Lara said he would support enacting rebuttable presumptions in law, but that ultimately the decision to release or detain people accused of crimes is up to the judge.
MV: “If you are charged but not convicted, you should not be imprisoned.”
Vieth added that there are statutes of limitations and due process that require charges to be laid easily. Otherwise, a person should not be detained in prison.
Is there a specific election law policy that you would support for implementation/abolition in New Mexico? Name and explain the most important to you.
LR: “Overall, I think I’m very happy with the direction we’ve taken as a state.”
He said electoral politics isn’t perfect, but New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has done a good job of positioning New Mexico as a national leader in accessibility to surveys.
MV: “If you go to the voter’s card, then everyone has to come in. And what I would like is a voter’s card that is also a REAL ID card.”
Vieth said he wants voters to be required to show government-issued ID when going to the polls to deter voter fraud. He claimed that residents of the state voted under the names of deceased people and dogs, which was not deemed credible by polling officials.
Vieth added that making the ID a REAL, or nationally authenticated, ID gives people another option when a certified ID is needed.
Spaceport America was built with taxpayers’ money on the promise of a space tourism industry for southern New Mexico. What are the most critical next steps for this facility and what laws/regulations will you support to secure this vision?
RL: “I view Spaceport as a state agency and instead of writing legislation to meet their needs, I think it can be done through the budget process and politics.
Lara said he thinks the next step for the spaceport is for it to become self-sufficient, generating enough revenue from space tourism to sustain its operation and “match state money for infrastructure improvements.” “. He added that surrounding counties still pay an additional tax to support the spaceport — a tax he said he understands has no bedtime.
MV: “The bad thing about making laws and stuff is that when you regulate, you discriminate. So, I don’t know if I would put in place laws or regulations.
He said he would instead encourage use of the Spaceport facility and allow it to attract interest and expansion on its own, without legislative support.
Chamber members can allocate a certain amount of down payment to a project in their home district. What is a project that has your support?
LR: “My neighborhood needs a lot of projects… I mentioned infrastructure, but I also believe that quality of life type things are very important.”
Lara worked with the city of Sunland Park to install a wading pool for children and said he is currently working with partners to have community centers built in Chamberino and San Miguel. This provides locals, especially children, with a safe place close to home to gather to learn and play.
MV: “I don’t know if I could do it or not, but I would try to use this money for vouchers so children can go to schools where their parents want them to go.”
He explained that there are many good charter schools in the area where some parents cannot afford to send their children. A voucher could help reduce the cost. He said his idea would also force public school systems to become more competitive than he currently sees them.
In New Mexico, however, charter schools are publicly funded and free. Only private schools – which are largely parochial – charge tuition. It is not clear whether public funds could be used to pay tuition fees for students in private schools.
Education, child protection, health, energy and the environment are among the critical topics that we did not ask you to explore. What is the specific policy in any of these areas that you plan to support?
LR: “One of the things that I think is very important is taking care of our teachers and school staff. If our teachers and school staff are happy and morale is high and things are going well, then our children will be in a much better position to learn.
Lara said he was working to increase the employer contribution to health care for public school employees to 80%. He also said it was important to look at truancy rates and put responsibility for children’s schooling in the judiciary, which has the power to compel parents to send their children to school.
MV: “It’s not my idea, but I think it’s a good idea: there are small nuclear generators that would actually use used fuel, so we don’t even have to go digging. We just have to go into all of our storage facilities and pull out what we have.
Vieth said this would allow the state to continue supplying power to buyers. He also said that there are ways to purify brackish water through desalination, resulting in more drinking water.
Where can readers learn more about your platform and how can they contact you?
LR: More information about Lara’s platform can be found through Facebook at www.facebook.com/RayLaraforStateRepresentative. People are encouraged to contact him through Messenger or email him at [email protected]
MV: Vieth’s campaign website with more information can be found at nmhouserep34.com. He can be reached by phone at 309-830-3452, but be sure to leave a message with your name.
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