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VOTE411 Voter Guide

NM State Representative District 23

Represents a district in the New Mexico House of Representatives, which has 70 members. In odd-numbered years, the legislature meets for 60 days; in even-numbered years, it meets for 30 days. The Governor may call for special sessions. Representatives sponsor and vote on “reasonable and appropriate laws,” represent the constituents of their districts, and serve on legislative committees. Positions are unpaid, except for per diem expenses. Elected for a two-year term.

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  • Candidate picture

    Alan T Martinez
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Frank James Smith Jr
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What abilities do you have that qualify you for this office?

What is your top priority, and how do you plan to address it?

What additional water policies and actions, if any, are needed in New Mexico?

What, if anything, should be done to improve public safety?

What programs or actions, if any, would you support to provide more affordable housing?

How can New Mexico diversify its economy?

Should legislators be paid a salary? Why or why not?

Before being elected in November 2022, I was the legislative director for the New Mexico Department of Veteran Services for 15 years. I was able to build a consensus of both Democrat and Republican legislators to pursue and pass legislation that provided policies and benefits for veterans and their families that they earned by serving our country.
My top priority is protecting small business and creating an atmosphere that is conducive to establishing and growing small business through common sense policies that encourage entrepreneurs who are willing to sacrifice everything to grow their businesses and provide jobs. The backbone to any thriving economy is small business and I want to make sure that state government rewards that spirit instead of putting up roadblocks that discourage the entrepreneurial minded person.
New Mexico has to protect it's water and work towards an overall policy that allows for population and business growth while balancing the protection of our natural resource.
Criminals must be held accountable. The "Bail Reform" constitutional amendment that was passed a few years ago was extremely vague and what people thought would be a good thing turned out to be a disaster. Supporting law enforcement must be more than words, actions like calling for the defunding of police has caused more harm to recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers. I supported and fought for the a statute that allows for retention bonuses for officers to help retention.
With the current budget surplus that the state is enjoying, the legislature must take advantage and invest in affordable housing that allows for assistance in purchasing a home through sound fiscal policy balanced with down payment assistance and also multi-family housing through local policies that will provide affordable apartments and other housing availability.
We must pursue a balanced approach. We cannot vilify the oil and gas industry. We have to pursue common sense policies that will allow for small businesses to thrive while allowing for a tax structure and a regulatory system that provides for the safety of the public without becoming over burdensome.
I do not currently support a paid legislature. Without raising the median income for our citizens, I don't think that legislators deserve a paycheck. The legislature must first prove deserving by raising education standards, protecting our families, lowering crime, and allowing for a better quality of life for our citizens. A salary is earned and I don't think the legislature has earned it yet. While we are at the top of every bad list and the bottom of every good list, it is not justified.
Campaign Phone 505-331-4339
Campaign Email vote4franksmith@gmail.com
Campaign Website http://Vote4FrankSmith.org
Occupation Semi-Retired Small Business Owner
I am a third generation New Mexican, raised in Albuquerque and a graduate of UNM. I bring the leadership skills that learned while serving honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps. I have used these skills as a small business owner and in over 20 years in business management. I hope to bring those same leadership qualities to the state legislature.
My top priority is to ensure that the needs of military Veterans are fully met. New Mexico has the second highest percentage of Veterans per capita in the US yet we only have a handful of Veterans serving in the state legislature Even with respect to military Veteran issues, partisan politics can interfere with good legislation. I plan to address these issues by working tirelessly to help bridge divides to promote Veteran and other issues to help build a United New Mexico.

Over 3/4 of New Mexico's fresh water goes to irrigated agriculture. I support working with growers to explore efficient water usage through things such as incentivizing agriculture to adopt efficient use of water like precision irrigation, growing more drought resistant crops and conservation measures such as repairing leaks. We also need to capitalize on available federal infrastructure money.
To address public safety we must work to keep dangerous individuals off the streets, keep guns out of the hands of those who would do harm to others and increase penalties for violent offenders. We must also address some of the root causes of criminal behavior such as substance abuse, mental health, poverty and education. To do so will require the work of legislators, the judiciary, law enforcement and community leaders working together.
Addressing affordable housing in NM requires a multifaceted approach between state and local government, community leaders and private business, among others. For example, urban areas can benefit by addressing zoning regulations to increase availability of high density housing, developers can be incentivized by way of tax credits, low interest rate loans and grants. Low income individuals can be given access to counseling and financial assistance to encourage homeownership.
New Mexico can diversify its economy in a number of ways. For example, gas and oil are vital to our economy and provide the bulk of the States budget dollars. But gas and oil can be boom or bust, right now it's booming. We should take an "all of the above" approach to energy production and become a leading energy producer. We have abundant wind and solar for renewable energy. Invest in our infrastructure to expand our electrical grid to handle increased renewable energy production.
Under the current unpaid legislative system, many talented New Mexicans can not afford to run for legislative office. The current system makes it almost impossible for most New Mexicans to serve because they're unable to take 30 or 60 days off work. This limits those that can serve in the legislature. Modernizing our system by paying legislators will allow a more diverse and representative pool of candidates to serve. At a minimum, legislators should be given at lease one paid staff member.