Candidate: Randi McGinn

Candidate’s Website: mcginnfornm.com

Section 1
Candidate’s Responses to Yes-or-No Questions, with Optional Comments

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1. Do you support the platform of the Democratic Party of New Mexico in full?

Yes.
Not only do I support the platform, I was one of the 14 founding women of Emerge New Mexico dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women to office. My longstanding commitment to the Democratic party matches my longstanding commitment to standing up for New Mexican families in courtrooms.

2. Will you co-sponsor the Green New Deal?

I fully support the environmental provisions laid out in the Green New Deal, including repairing and upgrading the infrastructure; eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;  building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘smart’ power grids; and affordable access to electricity; upgrading all existing buildings and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability; growing clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible. 

3. Do you support a ban on manufacture, sales, and ownership of assault weapons (large magazine, fast rate of fire)?

Yes.
I support banning the manufacture, sales and ownership of assault weapons for sale to the public or for personal use. I support background checks and closing sales loopholes through gun shows and online purchases.

4. Will you co-sponsor Medicare for All?

Yes.
Right now, early February 2021, the federal government’s immediate priority must be to expedite the delivery of vaccines in a fair manner, first to those most vulnerable. Once we have a solid, fair vaccination program in place, we must transition our attention to adopting Medicare for All. All people in our country must have access to high-quality and affordable healthcare by adopting Medicare for All. This means each one of us will have universal health care paid for by the federal government. Everybody is in and nobody is out. Our grandparents, our children, our neighbors and teachers-all of us! 

5. Do you support statehood for Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico?

Absolutely. Just over half, 52% of voting Puerto Ricans said yes when asked, “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted into the Union as a state?” in 2020. We must support extending full American rights to Puerto Ricans and residents of Washington DC as a crucial element improving quality of life and building infrastructure for better healthcare, education and commerce. And as the 47th state to the Union, New Mexican’s aren’t long removed from the challenges of being a territory. We understand how important federal support is for healthy infrastructure and that our voice matters in national elections.

6. Do you support federal funding for paid sick leave?

Yes.
Nothing is more important to New Mexicans than our families. Yet, most New Mexicans risk losing their job should they need to leave work to care for a sick loved one. Now more than ever, paid leave is critical to the public health and our economic recovery. A vital federal act, FFCRA, protecting workers and families by providing COVID-19 related leave, expired on the last day of 2020. We must extend this and adopt a permanent program. I support ensuring permanent paid leave for all working New Mexicans. Let’s care for our families and keep our jobs. 

7. Do you support the abolition of private prisons?

Yes.
This is an issue impacting so many New Mexican lives. Right now, 53% of those detained by the New Mexico Department of Corrections are housed in privately run prisons. And 1 in 7 Latino men born in 2001 will be incarcerated in their lifetimes. This must change. President Biden’s order prohibiting the renewal of federal prison contracts with private corporations is a great first step. Prison-industrial complex reform must include sentencing reform, clemency to commute non-violent drug crimes, and alternatives to incarceration for those who would not be incarcerated but for mental health/substance abuse challenges.

8. Do you support public financing of federal campaigns to eliminate corporate donations and PACs?

I absolutely support the elimination of corporate money in politics. Ever since the Citizens United court decision determined money equals speech and corporations were people, the influence of big industry has grown exponentially. That is why I would absolutely support any effort to legislate the elimination of corporate money in our system. I would also push for greater transparency in how money moves between PACs and “dark money” organizations so that everyone contributing to a campaign would have to be disclosed.

9. Do you unconditionally support all legislation to grant budgetary increases for the New Mexico federally-funded laboratories? If not, please explain your conditions.

Yes, with conditions. Investing in innovative technology is critical. In fact, LANL has been our source COVID-19 modeling guiding New Mexico’s pandemic responses. Budgets for the labs create the opportunity to transition away from atomic roots and embrace our need for clean energy. However, budget increases must earmark funds for clean-up and environmental remediation, clean energy innovation, correction of safety concerns, expansion of procurement opportunities for local small businesses and the expansion of educational outreach opportunities and workforce training efforts to benefit New Mexicans.

10. Do you support repealing the Hyde Amendment to allow abortion coverage for federally-funded health care recipients, including people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Services, and people in immigration detention facilities and prisons?

Yes.
I unequivocally support a person’s basic human right to control reproductive health. And I have fought for this right in New Mexico through my long-term commitment to both NARAL and Planned Parenthood here in New Mexico. I was also a founding member of Emerge NM. Repealing the Hyde Amendment and ensuring Medicare for All allows women access to make choices for their reproductive health is vitally important.

11. Do you support the cancellation of all student loan debt?

Our college students were turned into customers. And these “customers” were then exploited by making student loans incredibly accessible while the costs of higher education skyrocketed. The whole system must be overhauled. Currently, $1.5 trillion is owed on student loans and that sum is disproportionally owed by women (2/3rds of borrowers) and minorities. I support canceling student loan debt for those students who attended public universities or community colleges within their home state, would have otherwise be unable to afford a post-secondary education and have completed their degree or course of study.

12. Do you support universal, federally-funded child care?

Yes.
Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) can provide the funding necessary to help working parents get back on their feet after the struggles created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We can also redirect the billions of dollars wasted on a wall between the US and Mexico to care for our children in childcare settings and pre-K learning environments.  I was a young working Mom at a time when there weren’t very many childcare options and I remember how hard those days were.  We are strong enough of a community to embrace hard working parents and nurture our valuable children simultaneously.

13. Do you support free public universities and colleges, including career and technical education?

Yes.
What would our future be without education and healthcare? I support the College for All Act which provides federally paid tuition for in-state, public colleges, community colleges and technical/vocational schools for those students whose households earn less than $125,000 per year.

14. Do you support legalizing recreational cannabis and providing amnesty for all nonviolent drug offenders?

Yes.
Overhauling our prison-industrial complex includes rewriting oppressive and unnecessary laws including laws making marijuana illegal and the racially-biased laws and sentencing guidelines on personal drug use. In fact, marijuana became illegal in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which did not make the drug illegal at that time but gave law enforcement the ability to arrest anyone without the proper stamps, allowing persecution of black and brown communities. We should no longer incarcerate those who have been unfairly punished for personal drug use that is a victimless crime under these laws.

15. Do you support fully funding the Indian Health Services and expanding services?

Yes.
COVID-19 ravaged already vulnerable Native American communities in New Mexico.  It is unconscionable for the federal government to continue allowing Indian Health Services to scrape by with billions of dollars in unmet need. More physicians, more hospital beds, and more equipment tops the list of Indian Health Service needs. I will support increasing the federal budget to provide comprehensive health care to all and to fill the voids in care facing Native Americans.

Tribes have asked for expanded authority over federal funds earmarked for health care of tribal members to go directly to them. This is necessary as was proven just last month. On Nov. 6, Pueblo of Acoma Gov. Brian Vallo declared a state of emergency because the HIS had decided to discontinue services at the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit. This hospital serves about 9,100 members from three different tribes and until recently, had a staff of 230 employees. ISH discontinued emergency care at the ACL Hospital just as New Mexico’s ICU’s were reaching capacity.  This is an example of the federal government not being in alignment with the needs of tribal members.

16. Do you support a real path to citizenship for undocumented people living in the United States?

It is simple to me: The United States must accept refugees, asylum-seekers, and families who want a better life.  We must never again separate children from their families under any conditions. We must never force asylum-seekers to endure the cruel and horrible living conditions created by the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Deportations of hard-working men and women who make our society function, especially during the pandemic, must come to a halt. I will work to overturn all the policies that dehumanize those seeking safety and opportunity here. I support President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.

17. Los Alamos National Lab is making plutonium pits (the core) for nuclear weapons. As a U.S. representative, you can ask for a site-wide environmental impact statement. Would you do that?

Yes.
The Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution demanding a site-wide EIS just last week. Sadly, LANL has a history of being forced to shut down due to significant safety issues. Now that the Biden-Harris administration is active, renewing this basic step to refocus on environmental and worker safety is crucial. But this begets a bigger question as to why the United States is growing our nuclear arsenal.  The New START treaty between the United States and Russia expires this week.  Now is time to rethink our commitment to nuclear warheads and our international relations.

18. In 2018, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) introduced a bill to end the U.S. military's participation in Saudi Arabia’s war in the Republic of Yemen, a war that has not been authorized by Congress. Do you support this bill?

Yes.
On February 4, 2021, President Biden announced by Executive Order the US would no longer support offensive operations for Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen. He followed by stating US support would continue to protect Saudi Arabia from Iranian led attacks upon their nation.

Yemen is becoming the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with 24 of the 29 million citizens relying upon humanitarian aid. As Saudi Arabia’s coalition and Iran back opposite sides of the internal Yemeni conflict, this proxy-war is killing thousands of innocent people and allowing the suffering of millions. The United States must end weapon sales and airborne refueling to Saudi F-15s. While we have a vital interest in preventing Al Qaida from using Yemen as a haven for terrorism, supporting endless war and perpetuating famine of biblical proportion is inhumane and doesn’t prevent terrorist cells from gaining Iranian financial support. Additionally, the US must advocate for the inclusion of women from the frontline communities hit hardest by the war and conflict in peace negotiations.

19. In 2020, Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and take the savings to create a domestic federal grant program to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25% or more. Do you support this amendment?

Yes.
The Trump Administration increased defense spending by over $100 billion, about 20% per year to a total of $740 billion last year. I support taking $74 billion from the Pentagon to create funding for healthcare, housing, childcare and education opportunities. We cannot overcome post pandemic economic and health struggles of our Nation while sending unnecessary funding to our military. I will prioritize New Mexicans over Lockheed Martin.

20. In view of the revelations from Edward Snowden that the federal intelligence apparatus is surveilling, without warrant, the lawful communications of millions of U.S. residents, do you favor Congressional hearings that would investigate these privacy concerns?

Yes.
My career proves my dedication to protecting our civil rights and protecting our Nation’s Constitution. Over the past four years, we have watched in horror as the outgoing President systematically dismantled our government and our democracy, culminating in an attack on our Capitol. It is time to construct guardrails to protect our country, prevent dishonest autocrats from ever taking office again and restore Congressional power to effectively investigate a corrupt administration and violations of our civil liberties. I am in favor of Congressional hearings to investigate privacy concerns.

Section 2
Candidate’s Responses to Questions

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1. Give us examples that demonstrate your past work to advance progressive values.

My life’s work as an attorney has been dedicated to standing up for those who have been oppressed, mistreated, robbed of their rights and forced into harm’s way. Examples include my role volunteering as a special prosecutor to prosecute two police officers who killed a mentally ill homeless camper in New Mexico named James Boyd. I have successfully sued APD in excessive force cases, prosecuted a cop killer and taken on injustice after injustice. I have worked one case at a time to bring justice to New Mexicans.

I have fought to challenge unjust practices in New Mexico’s criminal justice system, including the immense backlog of rape kits in the state. I organized a group of volunteer attorneys to help prosecute those offenders identified when a decade-long backlog of 5,000 rape kits were finally tested. 

I have worked to uplift women and people of color in politics. I was one of the founding women of Emerge New Mexico, a program dedicated to training pro-choice women on how to be elected to public office. I have advocated against the death penalty as well. I have been fighting for my fellow New Mexicans for over 40 years and will continue to do so.

2. What makes you a more viable candidate than your opponents?

We are all viable candidates fighting for a better future for our State. I differ from the others in this race by my career. And while I have a long-standing commitment to the Democratic party, I am not a politician. I feel honored to be a consumer protection attorney in New Mexico. In short, I differ from the other candidates in my history of fighting against corporate greed, standing up for the oppressed and marginalized and righting wrongs that companies thought they could pass off because they don’t care about New Mexicans.

I have helped thousands of New Mexican families stand up to big corporations and other powerful institutions to get what they deserve, in everything from trucking collisions to workplace violence to medical malpractice. In these cases, I championed transformative law, where we focused on making policy changes so the same abuses don’t happen again.  These experiences demonstrate my loyalty to what is right and my ability to endure and succeed in difficult challenges that make our state a safer, fairer place to live. I believe our future is bright and there are great opportunities coming out of the dual crises caused by the assault on our democracy and the pandemic – opportunities to transform government and erect guardrails to protect the freedoms we cherish. 

3. Do you have an executable plan to end fossil fuel extraction on public and tribal lands? If yes, what is it?

I support President Biden’s moratorium on any new leases for fracking on public lands and the specific Chaco Canyon 13 SEC. 430 that halted O&G lease sales within the Chaco 'protection zone’. But halting fracking leases on federal land for a year is just a start. In Congress, I will fight to extend that moratorium indefinitely. New Mexico has a three-fold obligation: to fight climate change, to diversify our state coffers by ending our dependency on oil and gas severance taxes, and to increase good jobs available across the state.

When it comes to any extractions on tribal lands, there is only one solution there. That is to acknowledge absolute sovereignty of tribal lands to the tribes that own those lands. The Keystone XL Pipeline project was a travesty of justice, where through eminent domain provisions, a massive oil pipeline was being built through tribal lands that was threatening to poison those lands and destroy sacred sites. This cannot stand and in Congress, I will fight every single day to ensure that pueblos and tribes have complete control over their land.

4. What is your plan to transition the United States to 100% renewable energy?

Here in New Mexico, we passed the Energy Transition Act that will transition our state to 100% carbon neutral production by 2045. If we can do it here, we can do it across the country at the same time.

First, I fully support the environmental provisions laid out in the Green New Deal. If I am elected to Congress, I will fight to get those provisions put into law. This includes repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible. We start by building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘smart’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity. We continue upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability.  We grow clean manufacturing in the United States and remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible.

We do this not only through laws and regulations, but also by understanding that real jobs and livelihoods are on the line. In order to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045, we must be able to educate and train the workforce that knows nothing but how to drill for oil or mine for coal. This way, no one will be left behind during this transition. We must also ensure that clean energy is affordable to all, especially those in disenfranchised communities who are affected the most by environmental injustice.

I will also support reinstating and strengthening the federal clean air and environmental protections that were wrongly rolled back by the former President. I will work to fund programs to fill abandoned wells leaking methane and increase inspections of methane emissions.

5. Do you have a plan to close the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay? If yes, what is it, and what would you do with the remaining detainees?

The 40 remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay each cost American Taxpayers $13 million per year for a total of $540 million. Closing Guantanamo Bay is urgent as we must recognize our obligation as the leader of the free world to honor human rights. As an attorney, I advocate closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, charging those detainees with crimes if evidence supports the charge, and allowing them due process in the US Federal Courts. If the US is unable to gather enough evidence to charge the detainees, then they should be released.

6. Do you have a substantive plan to increase police accountability? If yes, what is it?

I volunteered as a special prosecutor to prosecute two police officers who killed a mentally ill homeless camper in New Mexico named James Boyd. I have also sued law enforcement agencies in the civil courts because of abuse of force by New Mexico law enforcement agencies. I understand that overhauling the law enforcement culture of violence and racism is a multi-layered program that includes oversight and changes in leadership’s attitude.

If elected, I will fight to implement policies to prevent police violence and the violation of civil rights from happening in the first place. I will support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. I will also support:

  • Getting the right support for citizens suffering from mental illness: Adding trained civilian responders such as social workers or therapists help de-escalate police 911 calls related to behavioral and mental health crisis.

  • Neutral 3rd party investigations into all police shootings: Each time a police officer shoots a member of our community, a fair and honest investigation should be initiated to provide the community with an account of what happened, how the police officers’ actions compared to their training, and to determine if there was an abuse of force.

Proper training and improved culture inside law enforcement agencies: We must ensure that all law enforcement officers have advanced, exhaustive training on issues including mental health events and crisis, substance abuse matters and de-escalation and negotiation tactics. Importantly, all law enforcement members should be trained and held accountable regarding the use of racial profiling.

7. Do you have a plan to increase broadband access and affordability in tribal and rural areas? If yes, what is it?

New Mexico currently ranks 48th in the nation for broadband access. 122,000 residents in New Mexico (20%) have no access whatsoever to wired internet providers where they live. Economic recovery without high-speed internet is not possible. I will work to increase affordable broadband access to all our communities, including those drastically underserved and marginalized. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides a total of $7 billion to increase and expand broadband access for students, families and unemployed workers, including $300 million for rural broadband and $250 million for telehealth.  I will bring back New Mexico’s fair share of this funding if this act is passed. I will also work with the corporations responsible for laying the cable or fiber optics to rural areas to negotiate programs that bring needed internet to so many New Mexicans. We can combine the extension of broadband infrastructure with the creation of green energy infrastructure facilities and green energy jobs.

I will also push to explore other technologies to provide high-speed internet to these communities. While cable and fiber optics are currently the most readily available resources that we can use to provide broadband to areas, we will never reach 100% coverage relying on just those. We must research other means to possibly provide coverage, especially in areas that cannot be reached by wiring. For instance, a New Mexico based company called Sceye Inc. is attempting to produce air ships that will be able to provide broadband coverage to any location. These are the kinds of ideas that we must look to foster and invest in. We cannot tolerate being at the bottom of any more lists in comparison to other states.

8. It’s been over a year since the Washington Post published the Afghan Papers, a mass trove of secret U.S. government documents that detailed a coordinated effort by the U.S. government, through three presidential administrations, to lie to the American people and their elected leaders, about the war in Afghanistan. What is your position on the U.S. war in Afghanistan?

American’s longest war should be ended. In the past few weeks, US Troops were downsized to the last remaining 2,500. What did we accomplish in our longest running war?  Peace, security and an end to the Taliban?  No. Iran is funding terrorism around the world, so prolonged occupation of Afghanistan can never be a pathway to peace.

Anyone who had studied the history of Afghanistan would have never gone in the first place. Every county who has tried to wage a war in this vast nation, has not only lost, but has tragically wasted not only money but lives as well.

9. Is there anything else you would like us to know?

(No answer provided.)