Antonio “Moe” Maestas, District 16
For eleven generations Antonio “Moe” Maestas’s family has called New Mexico home. For the past 12 years Rep. Maestas has served in the New Mexico House, representing District 16 on Albuquerque’s west side. Rep. Maestas’s law firm MoeJustice focuses on personal injury law. Rep. Maestas currently serves as Chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee. He also serves on the Taxation and Revenue Committee.
Rep. Maestas is passionate about education and will continue to sponsor the Early Childhood Constitutional Amendment which would invest 1% off the top of our states $17 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education programs.
Rep. Maestas will face Republican Antoinette Taft in the November General Election. We asked Rep. Maestas a few questions.
1. What are your goals for the upcoming special session on June 18?
To add an economic component to the agenda. Hopefully the Governor will add some economic stimulus bills to the call (since the Governor controls the agenda during special sessions). We need to save our food services, hospitality & tourism industries, which were hit hard when we contained the virus.
2. How is New Mexico, Albuquerque and the Westside going to recover economically from the corona virus fall out?
We must invest in transportation and broadband infrastructure. Amazon didn’t come here because of incentives. It came here because we have a Comparative advantage in terms of our geography to various supply chains. Paseo Del Volcan must be completed immediately to spur more growth and development on the west side. We should all be proud on how well we contained the virus. Now we each have to do our part (wear masks, social distance, etc.) so we can hopefully jump start our economy. We need to make sure all of our businesses have an internet presence and restaurants have carry out and patio services. Regulators need to be flexible to allow markets to flourish. I’m looking forward to patio dining (even on sidewalk or parking lot) at our west side restaurants this summer.
3. In your 12 years of service in the legislature what have been the highlights and your biggest accomplishments?
Helping to put the west side on the map and building coalitions among west side leaders. Councilor Sanchez’s untimely death means we all have to be better and the west side can only be stronger if we stick together. I was also able to play a key role in changing the conversation on crime policy. NM has now joined the rest of the nation in implementing criminal justice reform measures that treat non-violent offenders different from violent offenders and realizing that in our state, ex-cons can ultimately succeed instead of using them as a political punching bag. Now as Chairman of the House Commerce we can cut down on barriers to entry so our young entrepreneurs can start new local businesses.
4. What have you tried to accomplish that did not pass or was vetoed?
We still need to move forward with probation reform and have independent oversight of Dept. of Corrections (prisons); liquor license reform which ends the archaic practice of a finite number of state issued liquor licenses being traded in the open market (at a ridiculous price); and creating a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) distinction for local minority & women owned businesses and keep more state government dollars in state.
5. What issues are unique to District 16 and the Westside?
Transportation and jobs. We must do our best to help create more business and jobs on the west side so our commutes are less and our kids stay home instead of seeking opportunities elsewhere.