About Us

About New Mexico First

New Mexico First is a public policy organization that engages people in important issues facing their state or community. We offer unique town halls and forums that create concrete, actionable recommendations for policymakers and the public. We also produce a wide range of policy reports on issues such as water, education, good government, healthcare, the economy, and energy. Our research and facilitation services are available to public and private entities.

Our mission statement and core values provide the ethical framework for all our work.

The organization was co-founded in 1986 by Senators Jeff Bingaman (retired) and the late Pete Domenici.  Traditionally, New Mexico First's honorary co-chairs are the states sitting U.S. Senators. Serving us now are our state’s two U.S. Senators – Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich.

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici(1932-2017)

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman(retired)

 

Our Mission

To be a catalyst for positive change by conducting independent research, engaging citizens in policy and enabling action.

Our Core Values

  • Meaningfully engaging New Mexicans in public policy
  • Striving for and respecting consensus
  • Pursuing and respecting diverse points of view
  • Ensuring inclusion and transparency
  • Rising above partisan politics
  • Changing policy to improve peoples’ lives
  • Creating an informed citizenry that is powerfully motivated
  • Reaching out statewide including rural communities
  • Partnering with others
  • Promoting civility
  • Democracy at its best
 

Heather Balas, Executive Director
New Mexico First
Corrales

Johnny Montoya, Chair
CenturyLink
Albuquerque

Del Archuleta
Molzen Corbin
Albuquerque

Terri Nikole Baca
AT&T
Albuquerque

Michael Barndollar
Barndollar Associates
Albuquerque

Greg Bloom
Office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall
Albuquerque

Rob Black
NM Association of Commerce and Industry
Albuquerque

Tracey Bryan
The Bridge of Southern NM
Las Cruces

Laura Conniff
Mathers Realty, Inc.
Las Cruces

Richard Coltharp
Las Cruces Bulletin
Las Cruces

John D'Antonio
U. S. Army Corp of Engineers
Albuquerque

Diane Denish
Building Bridges
Albuquerque

Andrea Fletcher
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces

John Garcia
Home Builders Association
Albuquerque

Tom Garrity
The Garrity Group
Albuquerque

Rico Gonzales
El Paso Electric
Las Cruces

Clint Harden
Clinton D. Harden & Associates
Clovis

Stan Harris
Modrall Sperling
Albuquerque

Matt Hunton
Hunton Insurance Agency
Portales

 

Franz Joachim
New Mexico PBS
Corrales

Kathy Keith
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos

Hayley Klein
Artesia Chamber of Commerce
Artesia

Carol Leach
Concho Resources Inc.
Santa Fe

Davin Lopez
Mesilla Valley Economic Development
Las Cruces

Ron Lovato
Tsay Corporation
Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo

Leo Lovett
U.S. Bank
Clovis

Richard Luarkie
Emerging Equities Solutions Group
Pueblo of Laguna

Marcus Mims
Clifton Larson Allen, LLP
Albuquerque

Cynthia Nava
Retired NM Senator
Albuquerque

Valerie Romero-Leggott
UNM Health Sciences Center
Albuquerque

Martha Romero
SFCC Board (Retired)
Santa Fe

Ron Solimon
Solimon Business Development & Strategy LLC.
Pueblo of Laguna

Chris Stagg
Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
Taos

Mike Sullivan
Office of U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
Albuquerque

Don Tarry
PNM Resources
Rio Rancho

Tom Taylor
Retired NM Representative
Farmington

 

Robert G. Armstrong
Roswell

Connie Beimer
Albuquerque

Kathleen Bond
Olathe, CO

Barbara Brazil
Albuquerque

Mary Jean Christensen
Gallup

Carol Cochran
Albuquerque

The Honorable Diane Denish
Albuquerque

Dale Dekker
Albuquerque

John Dowling
Gallup

Joan Drake
Albuquerque 

Richard Fairbanks
Albuquerque

Dr. Everett Frost
Portales

Bill Garcia
Santa Fe

William “Bing” Grady
Albuquerque

Jami Grindatto
Rio Rancho

 

Bill Knauf
Albuquerque

Carol Robertson Lopez
Santa Fe

Maureen Luna
Albuquerque

Tom Mills
Santa Fe

Lillian Montoya
Santa Fe

Arlene Roth
Fort Myers, FL

Jennifer A. Salisbury
Corrales

Lynn Slade
Albuquerque

David Steinborn
Las Cruces

Thomas Tinnin
Albuquerque

Tony Trujillo
Silver City

J. Ronald Vigil
Santa Fe

John Wagner
Albuquerque

Judy Zanotti
Albuquerque

Governor Susana Martinez

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (1932-2017)

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (retired)

U.S. Senator Tom Udall

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham
Congressional District 1

U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce
Congressional District 2

U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan
Congressional District 3

 

Dr. Jeff Elwell
President, Eastern New Mexico University

Dr. Samuel Stephen Minner
President, New Mexico Highlands University

Dr. Garrey Edward Carruthers
President, New Mexico State University

Dr. Stephen G. Wells
President, New Mexico Tech

Dr. Garnett S. Stokes
President, University of New Mexico

Dr. Joseph Shepard
President, Western New Mexico University

Staff

New Mexico First operates under the leadership of our large, statewide board of directors and a team of staffers. New Mexico First is strengthen by an excellent staff that has a wide array of skills, educational backgrounds and comes from different walks of life, political parties, and ethnicities.

Name 
 Title  
Heather W. Balas  
President and Executive Director
 
Pamela K. Blackwell
Senior Policy Director
 
Sharon Berman
Project Coordinator
 
Melanie Eastwood
Director of Development and Technology 
 
Tamara Lucero
Accountant
 
Kelsey Rader
Natural Resources Policy Director
 
Grant Taylor
Economic Policy Director
 

 












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