Q&A With Congressional Candidate Marco Serna

CD3 Candidate Marco Serna

Los Alamos Daily Post

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series in which the Los Alamos Daily Post presents the same set of questions to each of the candidates running for Congressional District 3, which serves the northern half of New Mexico.

Democratic candidate Marco Serna provided the following answers:

POST: Why do you believe you are qualified to represent New Mexico in Congress?

SERNA: A Member of Congress must embody the characteristics of their constituents. The people from my district are passionate, honest, respectful, hardworking and moral. Having been born and raised in Northern New Mexico, I am grateful my family and my community have taught me how to live by these values and I bring them with me in every endeavor I take in my life.

I have dedicated my life to public service. As a young prosecutor in both Sandoval and Valencia counties, I recognized the criminal justice system was broken; specifically, how we were handling non-violent drug offenses. Like many in this community, I have family and friends who have fallen victim to addiction and I saw that rather than address the core issue of addiction, we were trying to prosecute our way out of it, which was unsuccessful and doing more damage to our communities than good. One of the primary reasons I ran for District Attorney in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties, was to address the need for reform and to usher in policies and programs that were treatment-based to battle the addiction head on and break the shackles of addiction. I am proud to inform that as a result of our efforts, the First Judicial District has become a model for surrounding counties in our diversion programs and treatment programs, which focus on getting addicts into treatment and gives them hope that a sober life is not only possible, but attainable.

I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and embrace needed change, and that is exactly what I intend to do when elected to Congress.

POST: What is your overall governing philosophy?

SERNA: First and foremost, I firmly believe politicians are public servants.  We must always put the needs of the people at the forefront of any decision, we make or policy we advocate to pass. Far too often we find people in office who have either lost sight of this tenet or simply never had it. A perfect example is President Trump, this is a man who holds the highest office of our nation purely to benefit himself and his financial interests, which brings me to my second point; a public servant must have the moral resolve to make the right decision even when it is not popular.

On day one of my bid for CD3, I called for the Impeachment of Trump, despite Nancy Pelosi and the majority of Democrats on the Hill opposing impeachment at the time. I even had people around me urging me not to call for impeachment as they believed such a decision was “political suicide.”  I stand by that decision today, and hope it informs you that I will stand for what is right, even if it is not popular, because that is what Northern New Mexicans do when faced with adversity.

Finally, we must change the discourse in Washington and focus on our similarities rather than our differences. I refuse to believe republicans and democrats cannot work together – we can, and we must!

POST: What would you do to promote the interest of Los Alamos National Laboratory in Washington?

SERNA: As one of the nation’s leading research facilities, Los Alamos National Laboratory, is key to our continued advancements in technology and to our national security. Not only do these scientists serve to protect the nation, they also offer many partnerships and educational opportunities to the public that should be expanded.

LANL is crucial when it comes to countering Nuclear Proliferation. The facility staffs experts in Nuclear technologies and routes to export them. It is considered the premier laboratory when it comes to combating Nuclear Proliferation.

The facility works to improve nuclear threat detection, sustainable energy, research climate impacts, nanotechnology and assists small businesses with it’s NMSBA program. These are just a few projects LANL is committed to, amongst its extensive undertaking. It is important as your future congressman to not only keep LANL’s budget at its current sum, but to also expand it, allowing the facility to expand its programs, projects and educational opportunities for my future constituents.

POST: How would you balance arms proliferation with national defense?

SERNA: While nuclear weapons help ensure the safety of Americans as a deterrent to foreign countries that want to bring us harm, they pose an enormous threat to humanity. As such, I support the United Nations’ Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The primary objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology to rogue nations such as North Korea; to promote cooperation in uses of nuclear energy; to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.

We have seen the devastation that comes with the use of nuclear weapons, I am sure we can all agree, none of us want to see such devastation.

POST: In general terms, what would your foreign policy goals be?

SERNA: We must work toward rebuilding our moral standing among our allies and repair the damages Trump has created. Trump seems to favor dictators over our allies, and I will be a loud voice in Congress to oppose this reckless behavior. We must also focus on promoting human rights – currently we have a President who increasingly promotes hate speech and continues to advance abhorrent policies that disregard the moral fiber of our country, this must stop!

POST: What do you think should be done about the growing income inequality in the United States?

SERNA: I join with President Obama in the belief that the widening income gap among Americans is the “defining challenge of our time.” Today, the top 0.1 percent own about 20 percent of the entire nation’s wealth, while the bottom 90 percent of earners own about 25 percent. We must reform the republican tax code that benefits the wealthiest on the backs of the middle class and small business. it is criminal that giant corporations like Amazon can make over $11 Billion and pay ZERO in taxes.

To that end, I will only support tax breaks that benefit working New Mexico families; Instead of supporting tax breaks for Wall Street, I will support tax breaks for small businesses like my mother’s that are the driving force for jobs in our community; I support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour; and I will never vote to cut funding for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

POST: Do you have a plan for increasing access to healthcare in the U.S.?

SERNA: President Teddy Roosevelt was the first American President to attempt to pass universal healthcare in this country. Since then, President Obama is the only American President to accomplish this goal and while it is not perfect, it is a monumental step forward. Therefore, I propose we improve upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and offer an improved public option for those who want it, and allow millions of people who have private insurance chose to stay with their insurance or opt for the public option. In the end, I think we will find that a substantial enough amount of people will move to the public option.

POST: Where do you stand on increased regulation of firearms?

SERNA: I believe Universal Background checks are supported almost universally across America and we must implement it. This however will not solve a majority of the issue alone, we must update and reform the FBI’s current records, how they are kept and how they search other agencies’ files. The current system is in disarray and is outdated.

POST: What programs do you support on immigration to deal with the situation at the border?

SERNA: First, let’s recognize that men, women and children at our southern border are human beings, the great majority of whom are women and children fleeing violence from their home countries applying for asylum.

While I firmly believe we must reform our immigration policies, I fully support both DAPA and DACA, as proposed by President Obama. We are a nation of immigrants, it is time to tear down walls of division, not build them.

POST: What would you do to combat climate change?

SERNA: I firmly believe that climate change is a credible threat to our future. Last year our legislature addressed this issue by passing the New Mexico Transaction Act of 2019. Dubbed the “Mini New Green Deal,” the Act outlines a plan to change our electrical grid from coal to carbon-free renewable energy by 2045. I fully supported this legislation because it has a realistic time table and provides funding for economic diversification and retraining for coal miners and workers involved in these industries. Governor Lujan-Grisham and legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle worked with the affected communities and industries to enact this legislation. When elected to Congress, I hope to do the same thing on the federal level.

Since climate change is a global problem, I strongly believe that the United States should rejoin the Paris Climate Change Agreement and build consensus throughout the world. Instead of cutting down 33 million acres of forest every year, we need to encourage reforestation and better forest practices. 

 At the same time, I oppose fracking and believe that we need to move away from fossil fuels in order to protect our future.

Learn more about Marco Serna here: www.marcoforcongress.com