NAME: Jason Morris Barker
POLITICAL PARTY: Not Affiliated with any political party
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Advocacy and policy work has been used in legislation passed into law in recent years, advocacy and policy work prompted change within state departments like five new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program, civic and community leadership roles.
EDUCATION: Some college: The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, School of Physical Activity & Educational Services, exercise science major, 2010-2011; Columbus State University, Columbus, Ohio, exercise specialist certificate, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, 2009-2010; College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, political science studies, 1996-98; University of South Carolina, Hilton Head Island, SC, 1995; The Ohio State University, political science studies, 1994/95; Columbus College of Art & Design, art studies, 1992-93; Columbus Council on World Affairs, policy workshop, 1991-94; Dublin Coffman High School, Dublin, OH, 1990-1994.
What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?
We face a double threat with oil-related industries in economic fallout, decline in tax collections on top of COVID-19-related effects and the recession. It’s going to take fiscal responsibility, cuts to the newly expanded state government, and generate new revenues without raising taxes on the citizens of the state.
What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?
Legalized adult use of cannabis in New Mexico is inevitable. The legalization legislation should be rewritten and restructured so that 35% of the tax revenues are dedicated to public education. Specifically dedicating these funds to the measures in the court ruling to provide a sufficient education to all students.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Accountability and transparency, and it lacks real equity because our tax system favors those with the most money. In a state where people of color make up the majority of the population, it only makes sense that we restructure our tax system to ensure equity exists.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support the legalization but the legislation used in previous sessions needs to be rewritten so as not to interfere with the current medical cannabis program and to dedicate funding to the schools and teachers. And the social justice measures must be restructured for them to be equitable.
Do you believe changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis. If so, do you believe such powers should be expanded or reduced and in what specific ways?
Yes, changes should be made. The emergency powers need to be amended so that when a governor invokes the use of emergency powers, invoking its use also puts the legislature into a special legislative session to address the needs of the state with the executive branch.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I support repealing the 1969 law.
Do you support or oppose enacting a new state law that would allow police officers and other public officials to be sued individually by abolishing the defense of qualified immunity?
Yes, I support enacting a new state law and qualified immunity needs to be re-evaluated so that elected officials who create bad laws can be charged just like the police officers who break laws.
In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?
I do not support the erosion of the land grant fund.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its election laws and primary system? Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I support open primaries, we are one of only nine states with completely closed primaries. Open primaries will truly make a positive difference in the lives of New Mexicans and outcomes in the state as they would allow fully 20 percent more of registered voters to finally vote in those elections.
Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?
I would support a merit-based evaluation system and 100% disclosure of funded projects and requests. The capital outlay process needs reform and not just at the legislative level but also at the executive level and also at the local government level.
New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should the state take to diversify its economy and revenue base?
The answer lies with helping companies that are already doing business in New Mexico do better instead of all the freebies and tax giveaways to out of state companies. Legalization would create a new revenue stream also making it feasible to dump that tax on Social Security benefits.
Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?
I would support a moratorium on fracking along with seeing New Mexico pursue the 2019 Senate Memorial 24 that prioritizes growing and diversifying the state’s energy economy, which will require that employees be trained in renewable energy, fossil energy, nuclear energy and energy storage, among other areas.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
New Mexico needs to address the entire criminal justice system, from early childhood/behavioral intervention, to law enforcement, to prosecution and defense, to courts and corrections, and to behavioral health. Simply adding more police officers and prosecutors and increasing criminal penalties will not solve the problem.
Do you support or oppose the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers? Under what circumstances, if any, should police video be withheld from the public?
I support the public’s right to inspect and hope New Mexico looks at doing legislation like the Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act of 2018.
Members of New Mexico’s business community contend some state laws and regulations need changing so the state can better compete with Texas and Arizona when it comes to attracting companies. What steps do you believe should be taken to improve New Mexico’s economic competitiveness?
Once more the answer lies with helping companies that are already doing business in New Mexico do better instead of all the freebies and tax giveaways to out of state companies in conjunction with diversifying New Mexico’s top industries and lessening the state’s reliance on the federal government.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.