Mimi Stewart

Senate District 17

Affliation: D

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City: Albuquerque

Would you vote for the creation of an Independent Ethics Commission to provide oversight of the executive and legislative branches of government in New Mexico? Yes. I've sponsored ethics commission bills in the past. We do have to ensure that there are protections so that innocent people do not have their reputations ruined by unscrupulous claims by dishonest people.

What measures would you take to make New Mexico state government transparent, accessible and accountable to the public? We have tried for greater transparency with sunshine web portals on state government expenditures and salaries; prohibitions on political donations from state contractors; broadcasts of committee meetings and legislative sessions. We need to over-haul our campaign reporting system so it's easier for everyone to use.

Would you give permission to the Legislative Council Service to make publicly available the final amounts you personally allocate to various capital outlay projects? Yes. I'm proud of my capitol outlay focus on my district schools and parks; our cities' open space, public safety and transportation needs; and infrastructure at our university.

If you think reform of the capital outlay system is needed, how would you reform it? If you don't think reform is needed, give us your reasons. The current system, while flawed, at least insures some fairness by sending money to diverse areas of NM. The backlog of unspent funds exists in part because schools must complete repairs and purchases before being reimbursed. Our Finance Dept. adds to the backlog by creating roadblocks for cities and counties.

Does New Mexico need to invest more in early childhood development? If you think it does, in your opinion what is the best way to invest? If you don't think New Mexico needs to invest more, tell us why. Other states that fully implement early childhood programs show significant increases in academic achievement. Our students raised in poverty or with second language issues benefit from starting to learn English and gain basic skills earlier. To ""solve"" our current low education standings, we must invest more in pre-K.

What measures would you take to improve the state's long-term economy? Invest in renewable energy, schools and infrastructure. The solar industry has the second highest job growth in NM, with 2,000 high-paying, technical jobs. If wealthy corporations pay their fair share, that resulting revenue can recover 3,000 educator jobs lost under this administration, reduce class sizes and fund early childhood.

Would you support the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use in New Mexico? Why or why not? I have heard from many constituents who want cannabis legalized. Colorado made $250 million last year in taxes from marijuana, which they used to keep it away from young people. If we can regulate its use and raise revenue, while protecting young people, I would consider it.