2nd Congressional District candidate Gabe Vasquez. (Courtesy Gabe Vasquez)
SURNAME: Gabe Vasquez
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Director of strategy and partnerships, HECHO/National Wildlife Federation
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Cruces
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Las Cruces city councilor
EDUCATION: Bachelor of English, New Mexico State University
CAMPAIGN SITE: GabeForCongress.com
1. What is the biggest issue New Mexico is facing right now and how would you address it in Congress?
We must build an economy that works for everyone, lowers costs, and strengthens the middle class. We must prioritize workers and working families, small businesses, and reverse growing wealth inequality. Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, reducing costs for health care and childcare, and cracking down on price-gouging CEOs.
2. What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
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We must strongly support the renewable energy economy, strengthen and enforce the regulations on polluters, protect our public lands and wildlife, and ensure we are protecting New Mexico’s most precious resource, water, while protecting workers in the fossil fuel industry as we transition to a renewable energy economy.
3. What is your position on abortion? Do you think states should be able to place restrictions on it?
The decision on when to start a family is a deeply personal one and should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor, not politicians. We must protect women’s personal health care decisions at all costs and I will fight to protect those rights when elected.
4. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election? (Yes or No answer only, please)
5. What actions should Congress take regarding people now living illegally in the US? What about for those who want to come in?
For too long, undocumented families and workers have been used as political pawns in a broken immigration system that Congress refuses to address. The representative from this district must lead comprehensive immigration reform that will treat people humanely, address the root causes of migration, and keep our border communities safe.
6. Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?
As a hunter and responsible firearm owner, I support the Second Amendment and also strongly believe in common-sense gun-safety reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals by expanding background checks, using red flag laws, closing the gun show loophole , and cracking down on ghost guns.
7. Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
New Mexico has many budding economic development opportunities — tech transfer, film, cannabis, renewable energy, international trade, outdoor recreation, cultural tourism, arts and culture, and more. We must use federal dollars to support innovation, our small businesses, and capitalize on infrastructure investments that create economic growth.
8. What actions do you think Congress should take to address inflation?
Congress has passed legislation that caps insulin prices, holds price-gouging CEOs accountable, allows Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, and caps costs for seniors on Medicare. Yvette Herrell voted against all of this legislation. More actions such as these are critical to lowering costs for New Mexicans.
9. What is your position on the US response to the war in Ukraine? Are there additional actions the US should be taking?
We should continue to support Ukraine in the face of an unprovoked and horrific attack on its people. We should continue to supply military and monetary aid, as well as intelligence support to Ukraine. We should also work with our allies to close loopholes in the sanctions put on Russia.
10. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
We must create jobs and fund mental health and drug treatment, especially in inner-city, rural and native communities. We can best treat addiction when we address the root causes and not after someone has become addicted. We must hold pharma accountable for making billions of dollars and profiting from people’s pain.
11. What should be done at the federal level to address the increase in violent crime in the US, and especially in New Mexico?
We must adequately train and fund law enforcement to ensure our front-line officers are able to do their jobs in a safe manner. We must also invest more in community resources to address mental health, addiction, and poverty. Doing one and not the other won’t solve the problem.
12. What are your thoughts on the status of the US Department of Justice oversight of Albuquerque’s police department? Would you take steps to try to change it in any way?
Police are tasked with difficult jobs and we must acknowledge that. However, communities must be able to trust those who are charged with protecting them. Some oversight was recently removed because progress was made and we should continue to make progress in this area by building trust and accountability.
13. In a time of high partisanship and division, what are some issues where you could find common ground and work with members of the opposing party?
If the legislation will improve the lives of New Mexicans, I’ll work with anyone to get things done in Congress. I especially see possible areas of compromise on continuing to expand broadband, rural health care delivery, job training, water issues, comprehensive immigration reform and bringing more manufacturing jobs to New Mexico.
14. What actions can Congress take to address the scourge of mass shootings?
As a responsible firearm owner, I know there are common-sense reforms we must take, such as strengthening and expanding background checks, instituting red flag laws, closing the gun show loophole, cracking down on ghost guns, and increasing funding for mental health services .
15. What differentiates you from your opponents?
I come from a working-class immigrant family, not money or politics, earning every opportunity I’ve been given. I’m running for Congress to bring results to our district. I believe in the values of hard work, because I’ve lived them and have the strong desire to give back to my community.
16. Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
We are in a pivotal time in our history and need leaders who put New Mexicans first, not party politics. I won’t back down in my fight to protect women’s health care, lower costs for working families, raise wages, make health care, education, and childcare affordable, and protect our democracy.
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.
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