Name: Travis Kellerman
Political party: Democratic
Education: BA in Politics and History, UNM, 2006
Occupation: Co-founder and Senior Strategist at Quotient Labs, since 2019
Family: Single, no children
Relevant experience: Policy Analyst for City Councilor Martin Heinrich; house majority bond in the New Mexico Senate; co-founder of Lavu Inc., a successful tech startup from Albuquerque; impact data science strategist at Quotient Labs, leader in social and sustainability data modeling for cities; futurist and strategic forecaster
Campaign website: Travisforabq.com
What is the biggest problem your district is currently facing and how would you deal with it?
Poverty and lack of opportunities. My main goal as a city councilor is to build an inclusive economy with affordable housing, functional homelessness and living wages for workers across the city. Poverty and drug addiction are at the root of property crime in District 7.
What, if anything, can the Council do in law to reduce crime?
Short term: increase funding / resources to scale up social intervention, data science and community policing. Divert social service calls and enforce traffic laws.
Long-term: tackle the root causes – addiction, poverty, mental health, homelessness – with new social infrastructure and data-driven accountability to reduce crime, return on investment and improve quality of life.
The ODA continues to operate under a US Department of Justice settlement agreement that outlines reforms, policy changes, and mandatory training that police must complete over several years. Should the city continue with this agreement or try to change it? If so, how should the city try to change it?
APD must comply with court mandates. If some higher court mandates were found to be ineffective, I would be open to discussing with frontline workers and social and community support agencies to formulate new proposals with greater prosocial impact.
About 31% of all city general fund spending currently goes to the police department. Is this the correct amount? If not, should it be higher or lower and why?
During a recent police tour, I observed a range of technologies used for violent and non-violent responses. To increase the return on investment in the budget, we need an honest assessment of the real needs, with the aim of reducing costs through demilitarization. Recurring budgets increase when we ignore the root causes.
What else do you think in the city’s current budget should have more or less funding and why?
Funding for after-school programs should increase to include professional pre-apprenticeship activities, youth mental health support and mentoring. We also need to invest in Albuquerque as a data refinery, which means creating a reliable, ubiquitous data collection platform that shows, in near real time, what’s working and what’s not working in our city.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you be in favor of raising taxes?
I will not support raising taxes as we are currently structured. New federal and state funds are available for long-term investments. As an entrepreneur, I have also proposed new sources of income for the city, including the creation of salable environmental and social credits to serve the burgeoning ESG investment market.
What’s your best idea for boosting the city’s economy?
We have a unique opportunity to invest in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that will build an inclusive economy and the next generation of tradespeople. Not only will they give infrastructure programs an immediate boost, but they will give the next generation the future skills to continue building our economy.
If city voters approve a $ 50 million gross revenue tax liability for a new multi-purpose football stadium, where do you think it should be built?
Council and voters need more data. To be clear, I love New Mexico United, but I’m not necessarily supporting a new, taxpayer-funded stadium. I’d like to see what the real ROI and positive social impact will be compared to other $ 50 million investments, before I discuss the location.
What specific strategies do you have to reduce homelessness?
End-to-end mental health treatment, substance abuse and exploitation cessation, and violence intervention programs are essential. I offer a decentralized transitional housing solution with efficient smallhouse conversions from used shipping containers and using the Gateway Center as intended – to sort and process, but not to permanently house people.
What must the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
Build the rest of the solution, so the center can act as a triage to determine permanent solutions for those in need. The cost of the current mini-house model threatens to derail the whole decentralized idea. Worthy transitional housing, from converted containers, is complete with utilities at $ 20,000 / unit.
What should the city do, if anything, for people living on the streets who don’t want to stay in a shelter?
The homeless population has quadrupled since 2013. Root causes include the displacement of an unfair housing market and cycles of dependency and poverty. I believe in addressing the root issues. A lack of long-term investment encourages this reality. The city needs new data to identify root causes and track return on investment (return on investment).
What major infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
There are no senior centers or community centers in District 7. It is time to create a multicultural center and strengthen after-school programs for our working families. We need to tackle flooding in low income areas with a major overhaul of the drainage system. Also, strategic speed bumps, lighting and increased urban forestry.
What plans do you have to improve the quality of life for residents of Albuquerque?
Tackling the root causes with long-term solutions improves the quality of everyone’s life. An inclusive economy means living wages, jobs in the new economy for local people, economic benefits and workers exercising the right to organize. As an advisor, I will do everything in my power to build an Albuquerque that is ready for the future.
What makes you different from your opponents?
I am one of only two candidates in the District 7 race to qualify for public funding. My data-driven politics and logic stretch across the aisles. My philosophy: confluence rather than compromise. My background as a technology entrepreneur uniquely qualifies me to adapt municipal government to support the new economy.
Name an issue not mentioned in the above questions that you plan to address as an advisor?
Community involvement. We all have an interest in city policies and programs. I will lead new outreach activities, including giving voice to neglected and underrepresented people with data. Everyone in the community needs to know what’s going on and how to get involved, in the places and channels they frequent.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been subject to state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in personal or business bankruptcy proceedings?
3. Have you ever been arrested, charged or convicted of impaired driving, any misdemeanor or felony in New Mexico or any other state?