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Questionnaires for attorney general candidates | Local News

Brian Colon

City or area of ​​primary residence: Albuquerque

Educational background: Bachelor’s degree in finance, New Mexico State University; law degree, University of New Mexico.

Occupation: Attorney and state Auditor.

Political Experience: State Auditor, 2018-present; former chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Relevant life experience: Grew up in poverty and worked diligently with the support of the community and became the first in my family to attend college. Married for 25 years to an Albuquerque Public Schools educator and leader; father of one son.

Have you ever been charged or convicted of a crime, including drunken driving?: Do not

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, either personally or in business?: Do not

Have you ever been the subject of liens for unpaid taxes?: Do not

1. Would you continue the current attorney general’s practice of contracting with outside law firms for consumer protection cases? If so/not, why?:

I will lead outside counsel selected with an improved and transparent process previously used by former AGs Udall, Madrid, King and Balderas. We would be at a significant disadvantage in the fight against global companies such as big pharma/tobacco and environmental polluters with the risk of losing significant recoveries without this model.

2. Evaluate the current state of the Attorney General’s Office. Is it effective in representing people in the state on the criminal and consumer front?:

AG Balderas has been a model for Attorneys General throughout the country. Through his leadership, New Mexico has been aggressive in protecting the rule of the law and prosecuting corruption. He has safeguarded key environmental protections like clean air and water, spearheaded efforts to reduce gun violence, and protected consumers and the elderly from harmful practices and scams.

3. Will you accept campaign donations from out-of-state litigation firms? If so/not, why?:

All of my donations are properly reported by New Mexico law, and as you can see from the reports, I have accepted donations from litigation firms — just as my opponent has. Every one of my donations come from people who believe I have the best vision for this state, and I am the best candidate who possesses the broad experience necessary to be a successful watchdog and champion for New Mexico’s families.

4. You and your opponent, both lawyers, have different backgrounds in the law. Why is yours better suited for the office?:

The breadth of my personal experience and experience as a civil litigator for nearly 20 years has also prepared me for the breadth of the AG’s Office. There are 16 divisions in the AG’s Office that range from criminal prosecution to consumer protection. I have practiced in various areas of law such as consumer protection, environmental protection and cases for the injured and marginalized. My broad experience will allow me to run an office that handles a large range of issues.

5. If elected, name your first three priorities for the Attorney General’s Office.

Protecting our families from violent offenders harming children and our families — I will seek to build a criminal prosecution division full of subject matter experts who will take on the more complicated criminal cases in our state, such as cartel-related issues and human trafficking.

Environmental protection — I will ensure that polluters and large corporations do not take advantage of New Mexicans by harming our environment and sacred resources such as water.

Consumer protection — I plan on expanding the work of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division that fights for our seniors and people of New Mexico.

6. Many critics believe the state’s attempts at bail reform have been inadequate or have failed. Would you propose changes, and if so, what would they be?:

I support reform that provides increased safety in our communities and will continue efforts of our Legislature to protect our families. They have worked tirelessly to protect our citizens, and I will support and enhance their efforts. This is a nationwide problem, and I will partner with other Attorneys General to take best practices and lessons learned and deploy them in New Mexico. I will also work with the US Attorney and Justice Department to ensure that at every level, we are working hand-in-hand to ensure families are protected.

7. Under your administration, how aggressive would the AG’s Office be in pursuing complaints from the public and media about non-compliance of the Inspection of Public Records Act? Please detail the actions you would take.:

My record as state Auditor shows I am a consistent proponent of transparency in government. As a champion for transparency in government, I support an open process regarding public and media requests and will be aggressive in pursuing complaints of non-compliance of the Inspection of the Public Records Act.

Raul Torrez

City or area of ​​primary residence: Albuquerque

Educational background: AB in Government, Harvard University; MS in International Political Economy, London School of Economics; Juris Doctorate, Stanford Law School

Occupation: District Attorney, Bernalillo County

Political Experience: District Attorney, Bernalillo County; elected in 2016, re-elected in 2020.

Relevant life experience: District Attorney, 2017-Present; Special Advisor and White House Fellow, Department of Justice, 2009-2010; Assistant US Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, Assistant District Attorney, 2005-2013; Private Practice 2013-2017.

Have you ever been charged or convicted of a crime, including drunken driving?: Do not

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, either personally or in business?: Do not

Have you ever been the subject of liens for unpaid taxes?: Do not

1. Would you continue the current attorney general’s practice of contracting with outside law firms for consumer protection cases? If so/not, why?:

No. The use of outside counsel should be the exception, not the rule, and they should only be selected after an independent panel of local experts has vetted their qualifications. We have to end the pay-to-play system that has enabled large out-of-state and well-connected law firms to reap millions in fees at taxpayer expense. That is why I have not taken any contributions from law firms seeking to do business with the Attorney General’s Office and focused instead on the need to rebuild the litigation division and recruit the very best lawyers to protect our state’s consumers and natural resources.

2. Evaluate the current state of the Attorney General’s Office. Is it effective in representing people in the state on the criminal and consumer front?:

The Attorney General’s Office has been too reluctant to support local prosecutors in the evaluation of officer-involved shootings and too willing to outsource consumer protection cases to out-of-state contributors. In a recent case against Vivint Solar, the Attorney General’s Office failed to recover any money for consumers who were defrauded while allowing out-of-state contributors to recover substantial fees. As the head of one the largest law offices in the state, I will use my experience to rebuild the in-house capabilities of the Attorney General’s office to fight for consumers, hold corporations accountable, and protect our families.

3. Will you accept campaign donations from out-of-state litigation firms? If so/not, why?:

I have not, and will not, take contributions from out-of-state law firms who have or seek state contracts and once elected, I will stop this scheme for good. Our state has been plagued for too long by the “good ole boy,” pay-to-play system and we need to set a new standard for excellence, starting with the Attorney General’s Office. New Mexicans deserve the very best lawyers working on their behalf and should expect that those who represent them have been selected based on expertise and merit, not contributions and personal relationships.

4. You and your opponent, both lawyers, have different backgrounds in the law. Why is yours better suited for the office?:

The next Attorney General should have real legal experience and a demonstrated commitment to taking on the toughest issues. I am the only candidate in the race that meets that criteria. I am also the only candidate in the race with a record of managing complex civil and criminal litigation. As DA, I manage more than 100 attorneys and have transformed the office using cutting-edge technology and redesigned business processes. I have also actively engaged in the fight for universal background checks, uniform integrity screening for police officers and a first of its kind lawsuit against an extremist militia.

5. If elected, name your first three priorities for the Attorney General’s Office.:

First, we must rebuild the litigation division and recruit the best lawyers to bring consumer and environmental protection cases against corporations who prey on our most vulnerable populations.

Second, we must expand our efforts to protect democracy by standing up to individuals and organizations that seek to undermine our institutions through harassment and threats of violence, including stopping extremist militias and corrupt politicians.

Third, we must reform our criminal justice system to ensure that we achieve lasting public safety. We must also elevate neglected communities with acute public safety challenges and tackle the problem of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

6. Many critics believe the state’s attempts at bail reform have been inadequate or have failed. Would you propose changes, and if so, what would they be?:

I have been and continue to be an advocate for bail reform. Unfortunately, our current system has failed to deliver on the basic promise of allowing low-level, non-violent offenders to be safely monitored in the community while reliably keeping high-risk, violent offenders behind bars. In order to give the public confidence that reform can be done safely and effectively, I will continue to advocate for a more detailed framework for judge’s to use when evaluating defendants charged with serious violent offenses like murder, sexual assault, human trafficking and firearm offenses.

7. Under your administration, how aggressive would the AG’s Office be in pursuing complaints from the public and media about non-compliance of the Inspection of Public Records Act? Please detail the actions you would take.:

Transparency and accountability must be at the forefront of the Attorney General’s Office. I will be very aggressive in pursuing complaints of non-compliance with IPRA. Too often, citizens have had to bring their own lawsuits to enforce IPRA complaints, even against the offices of the State Auditor and the Attorney General, two offices charged with upholding transparency and accountability. In addition to ending any pay-to-play scheme within the office, I will commit to ensuring all New Mexico governmental agencies, including the Attorney General’s Office, strictly comply with IPRA, to restore the people’s faith and accountability.

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