Candidate: Victor Reyes

Candidate’s Website: victorreyes.org

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.

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

Yes.

The Green New Deal is a civil rights issue. For any proposal that crosses my desk in Congress, we must be clear about passing a Green New Deal to protect our air, land, and water and invest in the real infrastructure needs we have like water, waste water, our renewable energy infrastructure, our transmission infrastructure.

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

Yes.
The level of gun violence we experience in America is inexcusable—it’s time for leaders to act. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide compared to people in peer countries. We must institute comprehensive reform and ban the manufacture, sales, and ownership of assault weapons. We must go even further and pass universal background checks for all gun sales at the federal level, including closing the gun show loophole and the Charleston loophole; push for extreme risk legislation; and increase funding for gun violence research and gun violence intervention programs.

I am committed to taking bold action to combat gun violence. It’s a commitment rooted in an understanding of the toll that gun violence has on our communities. An understanding that comes from a lived experience seeing my community struggle to combat this battle and coming of age in a generation marked by far too many tragedies.

4. Will you co-sponsor Medicare for All?

Yes.
I believe that affordable, quality health care is not only a right for all New Mexicans. In Congress, I will strongly support “Medicare for All” and will work tirelessly to support New Mexico’s health centers and providers – they are the true first line of defense, and they must be protected and provided with the right resources. We cannot wait for another crisis or catastrophic event to mobilize the resources we need to protect each other. We must invest now. Supporting these efforts at the federal level will require coalition building and bold action.

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

Yes.

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

Yes.

7. Do you support the abolition of private prisons?

Yes.
I will support a ban on private prisons to prevent the expansion of corporations using human suffering and mass incarceration to drive profits. I commend the Biden Administration for ending contracts with private prisons that the DOJ is partnering with at the federal level. But we must go further. We must also end the use of private immigrant detention facilities. 

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

Yes.
Getting big money out of politics begins with passing HR1. Democracy shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidder. Big money has encroached our political system, and corrupting democracy and taking power away from American voters. Billionaires and big corporations wield undue influence over our political system, including political campaigns. In 2010, when the Supreme Court declared money is speech and corporations are people with their ruling in Citizens United, corruption has run rampant in our electoral system. HR1 will help get money out of politics, increase transparency about donors, and crack down on lobbying. This sweeping legislation provides the structural change required to address campaign finance reform and corruption.

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

Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, amongst others, are key economic drivers for our state. In addition, the research that they conduct is providing for advancements in fields such as COVID-19 and the exploration of science and technology that will help us combat some of our greatest challenges, such as climate change.

I am committed to fighting for funding and long term investment for science, including our labs. This funding, however, should not be prioritized over other investments critical for our communities, such as reproductive healthcare services, education, and our sovereign nations.

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.
The Hyde Amendment is a unfair and discriminatory law that makes it harder for women struggling to make ends meet  have access to abortion care. No one should lack access to healthcare, including abortion care, because of how they are insured.

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

Yes.

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

Yes.

I believe every family must have access to affordable and high-quality child care and early education. It's unimaginable that tuition at the University New Mexico costs less than what parents pay for high-quality childcare and yet there is no federal assistance for these critical services. I strongly support legislation to make childcare free for most parents and affordable for all while also expanding the early childhood education infrastructure across our country.

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

Yes.
Even before COVID-19, our education crisis was crippling working families across America and right here at home in New Mexico. Too many of us have struggled to put ourselves and our families through school, and too many of us have had to sacrifice our financial security and our time in order to desperately try to provide schooling. That’s why I support making public colleges and universities, including career and technical education. Every student should be able to attend college without financial barriers, and burdens after graduation. As we look to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19, we must finally support our schools and teachers, and we must ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or their family's financial situation.

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

Yes.
I support the legalization of recreational cannabis and believe it to be an important economic development tool. I also support efforts to help erase the damage that the failed War on Drugs has had on communities of color including legislation that will delist Cannabis as a scheduled drug and expunge Cannabis convictions.

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

Yes.

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

Yes.
Yes, I support a real path to citizensihp for undocumented poeple. This begins with getting rid of the unlawful entry burdens in our current in our immigration laws.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Section 2
Candidate’s Responses to Questions

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

I am running to be the next generation of progressive leadership for New Mexico.

Throughout my life, I’ve striven to be a voice for people who feel they don’t have the words or power for themselves. It’s why I’ve always worked to make a real difference for people and be a strong voice for public policy that will better the lives of all New Mexicans. Serving as a top aide for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, I’ve been at the forefront of the state’s efforts to support educators, curb gun violence, build New Mexico’s economy, safeguarding and expanding access to abortion care, and protecting our air, land, and water.

​During the COVID-19 pandemic, I helped lead New Mexico’s efforts helping local governments coordinate community response and ensure that our tribes and pueblos had access to the food, shelter, and resources they needed as the architect behind two special legislative sessions.

As the political and legislative director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, I led the successful opposition to anti-conservation legislation that would have had a detrimental impact on our most vulnerable communities. As the Campaign Director for ProgressNow New Mexico, I championed progressive candidates and issues, pushing back against former Republican Governor Susana Martinez’s destructive anti-labor and anti-working family agenda.

As a longtime advocate and national leader on reproductive justice, I have helped defeat anti-abortion legislation, have worked alongside a diverse coalition of women, families, and community organizations, and I currently serve as the national Board Chair of Catholics for Choice.

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

I have experience in leadership positions directly leading successful initiatives on the local, state, and federal level. I know what it takes to build a winning team and effectively convey a progressive message to voters. I also have experience building coalitions of support and mobilizing communities to achieve progressive victories.

This race is an opportunity for our state to once again make history and elect the first LGBTQ+ member of Congress from our state and the youngest Democratic member of the House of Representatives.

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

Rural areas, tribal lands, and communities of color bear disproportionate weight to environmental injustices. The Green New Deal is a civil rights issue. We must be clear about passing a Green New Deal to protect our air, land, and water and invest in the real infrastructure needs we have like water, waste water, our renewable energy infrastructure, our transmission infrastructure. We also need to make sure that the federal government doesn’t get left off the hook for the uranium mines in Western New Mexico where accountability remains necessary. We also need to ensure that reclamation efforts and subsequent long-term economic revitalization are prioritized to address the millions of acres of land and water damaged or abandoned by the fossil fuel industry.

Our communities deserve access to safe and clean drinking water and to clean air. It is a right. It’s ridiculous that we’re being asked to accept a reality where corporations are very content on building pipes to extract our natural resources but will not build the infrastructure for water. In Congress, I'll take this on head on by immediately ensuring that hydraulic fracking operations no longer evade the federal law’s oversight on fossil fuels, end offshore drillings that poison our oceanic habitats, end the construction of tar sand pipelines, and ensure that the executive branch cannot rollback regulations that prevent our lands from exploitation by the fossil fuel industry, and eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s practice of leasing low - and no potential - public lands to the fossil fuel industry.

I’m proud of my work as the legislative and political director of Conservation Voters New Mexico  to bring the voices of communities of color to the forefront of the conversation. I brought together a coalition of policy leaders, elected officials, and industry leaders to make actionable plans, including leading the successful opposition to anti-conservation legislation in the 2015 legislative session that would have had a detrimental impact on our most vulnerable communities.

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

We need bold action in order to protect our public lands, save our planet, and transform our economy. This isn’t just an existential crisis anymore. It’s a health-care crisis and an economic disaster. It’s a daily source of fear for the millions of families that can’t access clean water or air on a regular basis. And it’s been a lifelong struggle for communities across New Mexico, from tribes and pueblos, to farmers and agricultural workers, and to workers who hope for more environmental protections in their workplaces.

I will support public investment in infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency to transition our economy to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050, while ensuring a just transition for communities and workers, paid for by a price on emissions, to generate good jobs and economic growth while reducing carbon emissions. We must stop fracking. Here in New Mexico, those workers will be re-trained for jobs in renewable energy sectors with job training programs. This is also a worker’s rights issue. Transitioning to a new source of energy that is safer provides an opportunity for workers to operate in a safer environment at the same level of pay. I will fight like hell to pass the Green New Deal.

As I have done in all of my work, I will bring the voices to Congress of those who are too often not centered in conversation -- the communities of color who often bear the brunt. I will lift the voices of those who do not have the power or words to do so themselves, and by doing so, we will help change the conversation in Washington.

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?

Unequivocally yes. Guantanamo Bay and all other detention centers operated by the United States either within or without the de jure jurisdiction of the United States Constitution must be defunded and shut down indefinitely. Guantanamo’s military commissions are fundamentally inept to protect the rights of those detained with due process of the law and avoids the evidentiary requirements imposed upon our federal judiciary. While no one fully understands the basis for which many in Guantanamo Bay are detained, the remaining detainees should be transferred to a federal prison and afforded their right to a fair name-clearing hearing and trial before a jury.

Further, the fact that the federal government has been capable of unlawfully detaining these individuals for several years without any transparency or accountability demonstrates the need to improve our rights to public information. Specifically, civilians and civic organizations should be able to obtain classified information such that the federal government may not engage in human rights violations, including as it pertains to the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts. The American public can no longer be kept in the dark about the federal government’s actions--whether it pertains to the subjugation of individuals in Guantanamo Bay, the torturing of individuals during a war, or the killing of civilians by drone strike operations.

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

Smart justice must be a priority to ensure equal protection under the law. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities — police accountability is step one in moving towards a healthier relationship between law enforcement and our communities and in making NM more safe for all. We must abolish qualified immunity for all law enforcement agents. By doing so, we will ensure that bad actors within the police force are held to the same standard of law as anyone else. We can no longer allow police officers to murder Americans because our laws only hold the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law accountable.

Further, we must ensure that states and municipalities are held accountable for their policies, practices, and customs of racial profiling. These practices have led to the disproportionate impacts on black and brown communities being over policed and unjustly incarcerated. Law enforcement should also not be the only agency on which our communities must rely to address every social problem. Moreover, we must also establish citizen review boards that oversee complaints of officer misconduct and that allow for the public to consider clemency petitions.

Regardless, the recent police shootings of Black and Brown Americans by police officers necessitates that the federal government establish both civil and criminal statutes that hold state and federal agencies accountable for the misconduct of their officers--including liability for failing to train and for an officer’s unjustifiable use of lethal force. Lethal force cannot be the first tactic that officers rely upon.

Data also plays an important role in making this possible. We will work with the DOJ to collect and analyze data, helping us to identify where problem officers may be earlier and more efficiently. This must also include data collection in areas impacting our transgender communities and end the misgendering of people. And when one of our officers does use harmful conduct, we’ll move to get the DOJ involved sooner, and fight for accountability across the entire system. We’ll also work with community leaders to implement community policing, so that community safety remains a shared objective.

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

One first immediate step in addressing that would be to help pass our own Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s bill to ensure Native American communities have equal access to telehealth, education opportunities, economic relief during pandemic. Proposed shortly after the beginning of COVID, the bill aimed to provide emergency access to broadband internet in Indian Country. It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, there are children in our communities that cannot log onto the internet to access their classes and coursework during this global pandemic. We can log onto WiFi when traveling 35,000 feet above some of the communities that still lack connectivity on the ground. More than ever, broadband is required to help communities weather storms of this pandemic. We must prioritize the infrastructure and industry to set up broadband access for all of our communities.

There are severe disparities between rural and urban communities in New Mexico. For some, broadband access is the difference between finding work and going jobless for another day, or could be the reason why one student fails a key class. We can’t afford for anyone to be left behind — but to make that happen, we must first start by addressing the most basic of infrastructure deficits that make it hard for our residents to live their lives, including drinking water and safe roads. Addressing key infrastructure concerns is crucial. Working on this firsthand during the pandemic has shown me the disparities that the Navajo Nation and other sovereign nations face. Workin with the governor, we made sure that rural communities had access to the resources they needed for COVID, but the resources provided to tribal lands and rural areas from our federal government are insufficient. These communities have been systematically, structurally, and institutionally disadvantaged, and we must make it a priority to proactively address these disparities.

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?

The U.S. decision to enter engagement in Afghanistan through the AUMF was a fraud on the America public. For too long, the U.S. has suffered real consequences at home and abroad by entering endless wars that destabilize entire regions and cost lives. It was a mistake with disastrous long term implications that undermined our diplomatic capabilities. We know that our military commissions failed. We know that hundreds of civilians were murdered and tortured abroad without being held responsible. Instead, the American justice system provided a facade to the Iraqi public about the right to a fair and impartial trial by unexplainably permitting these grave injustices. As explained above, the public should not have to fight for years to obtain this necessary public information.

Further, the U.S. using our funds to pay for the disinformation in the foreign media in Afghanistan must be rectified. We have seen the damage that disinformation can cause in America when foreign nations control the narratives to the American public; and the U.S. should be limited by Congress from engaging in the same types of disinformation campaigns in foreign countries. 

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

As New Mexicans we believe in respecting each other; honoring our land, air, and water, and looking after our families and one another. I know that family isn’t just who you share blood with, it’s who you build a community with. I will bring a bold, new progressive voice to Congress and a generation of young people of color along with our LGBTQIA+ community will see themselves reflected in the halls of Congress

I am honored to be in this race and reflect the next generation of progressive leadership.

The fight for justice is a fight I’ve been waging for my entire life, whether that has been as a top aide to the governor, as an environmental advocate, or as a progressive organizer.  As long as New Mexicans still worry about the cost of getting sick, I will fight like hell for Medicare for all and for health care to be a right, not a privilege. As long as there are New Mexicans who continue to bear the burden of generations of environmental injustices, I will fight like hell for a Green New Deal. As long as New Mexicans continue to lack access to abortion care, I will fight for reproductive justice and freedom for all and repeal the discrimantory Hyde Amendment. This nation shouldn’t just build back better, we must build back bolder and build back more justly.