Wednesday night, KRQE News 13 hosted the first Gubernatorial debate.
The candidates sparred over how they would fix New Mexico’s economy, schools and crime problem.
Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce both came polished and prepared. They took turns taking jabs at each other, while explaining why they should be your next governor.
Both Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Congressman Steve Pearce had stark differences on how to fix the problems facing our state, starting with the economy and if we should raise the minimum wage.
This is the first time in state history that two sitting U.S. Representatives have faced off in the race to the Governor’s Mansion.
Each candidate came ready to take jabs at their opponent, but in the end, they both say they’ll fight to make this state better.
When it comes to crime, Lujan Grisham says we need more officers, while Pearce says we need to hold violent, convicted criminals in jail.
So, who won the debate? Hundreds of viewers voted on KRQE.com and they said Pearce.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
1. You both have lived in the state of New Mexico for virtually your entire lives. You have both represented New Mexico in Congress for years. What is the most pressing issue in our state?
#NMGovDebate Q1 @Pearce4NM: You’re not going to fix education if you don’t do something about poverty – if you don’t do something about dysfunctional families, about drugs about gangs and mental/behavioral health so you’ve got to be working that poverty angle…— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q1 @Michelle4NM: If we don’t get public education right can’t hold workers, we continue to lose our young people. They’re going out of state for jobs…and we don’t recruit businesses to our state.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
2. Despite governors promising to turn the state’s economy around, we have failed to climb out of an economic hole largely dependent on the volatile oil and gas industry, and government jobs. What is the single most important thing you would you do, that has not been tried before, to boost the state’s economy?
#NMGovDebate Q2 @Pearce4NM: In order to grow and diversify the economy we need three separate columns: High tech…blue-collar…and then we must have a rural economic development program.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q2 @Michelle4NM: Increase the minimum wage…give New Mexicans an immediate raise…Let’s change the procurement code. Why are we sending all of our hard earned money out of state? Why are Colorado and Arizona doing so well? Because they have our money.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
3. Would you support a raise in the state’s minimum wage? How high?
#NMGovDebate Q3 @Michelle4NM: Absolutely. I’m on the record… It is the single most important factor in holding our families in poverty…$10 immediately, then to $12 and then index it to inflation.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q3 @Pearce4NM: If we’re trying to help people at the bottom of the economic ladder minimum wage actually does the opposite so I would not support that.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
4. Does the state spend enough money on education?
5. The state recently lost a lawsuit, with the court finding that New Mexico’s education budget does not adequately fund our K-12 public schools. Would you tap the permanent fund to expand pre-K?
#NMGovDebate Q5 @Pearce4NM: I would agree with the courts, but the problem is where are you going to come up with the extra money. You must be able to adjust the figures so where it fits your budget.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
6. The education system in our state has a history of promoting students to the next grade level, even in cases where they are not reading at grade level. As governor, would you end social promotion?
#NMGovDebate Q6 @Pearce4NM: Let’s fix our education system as it stands, let’s continue the early education programs that we have right now, and as we have a sustainable budget then we can look at expanding into more early childhood education.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q7 @Michelle4NM: If you want to make sure that we’re giving kids the ability to close those achievement gaps…then you got to do early childhood education, smaller classrooms, you need a robust funding system for public education— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q7 @Pearce4NM: I don’t want to wait until the third grade to see if we didn’t reach grade level. By the third grade kids are already stigmatized…Let’s get kids reading to grade-level right off the bat.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
7. Crime is a major problem in our state. Have you ever been the victim of a crime in New Mexico? As governor, what would be the single most important action you would take to make New Mexicans safer?
#NMGovDebate Q9 @Pearce4NM: Hold convicted criminals in jail… To free up space in jails, I would stop recycling. I would stop sending people back. If we get them a job and a place to live then the statistics show that not as many will go back.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q9 @Michelle4NM: Tough, smart, safe. The fact that we don’t collaborate between our different law enforcement jurisdictions means that we don’t share intelligence information…— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
8. Imagine a scenario where you have a person addicted to methamphetamine, with a long history of property crimes. That person gets caught again stealing a car or breaking into a house. What should happen to that person?
#NMGovDebate Q10 @Pearce4NM: I think we should be looking at more treatment programs. We should be having those in the jail system itself and when people are out we should be identifying them sooner.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q10 @Michelle4NM: If you are serious about doing behavioral health therapy and treatment using evidence based treatment – making sure we’re not using jails and prisons as our behavioral health treatment centers – then you have to use every tool including Medicaid.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
12. Nine states across the country have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, including our neighbors to the north, Colorado. Have either of you ever smoked pot? Would you support legalizing recreational marijuana in our state?
#NMGovDebate Q12 @Michelle4NM: If I get a bill that protects the medical cannabis programs…deals with workplace intoxication & public safety, deals with underage consumption and prevention, & regulates edibles…then I’m inclined to sign that bill.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
13. It’s a common theme in races around the country right now — the “Trump factor.” What do you think about President Trump?
#NMGovDebate Q13 @Pearce4NM: They’re simply people who are tasked to do a job and when they’re right I’ll support them, when they’ll wrong then I’ll contend with them.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
14. What’s your stance on deportation for immigrants found living here illegally?
#NMGovDebate Q14 @Michelle4NM: We should do everything in our power to make sure Dreamers are protected, that we do comprehensive legal immigration reform and that we’re clear about asylum and refugee..— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
#NMGovDebate Q14 @Pearce4NM: Secure the border first, and I don’t think the wall is going to be that. I think we need a virtual wall in some places. Second, fix legal immigration.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
12. The attack ads are flooding the airwaves now. Tell us about something you have seen in one of those attack ads aimed at you that you felt is below the belt?
13. Tourism has become a huge revenue generator in New Mexico. If you had a weekend to spend anywhere in the state — what is your ideal staycation?
Final Thoughts – #NMGovDebate @Michelle4NM: We need a governor who’s ready to fight, not just for the Land of Enchantment, but for the land of opportunity of renewable energy, quality & affordable healthcare & of a diverse and sustainable economy.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018
Final Thoughts – #NMGovDebate @Pearce4NM: My business background says that I can create the jobs & grow the economy. My experience in the legislature actually balancing the books say that we can reach a balanced budget.— KRQE News 13 (@krqe) September 20, 2018