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, 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 Pete Domenici (retired).  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(retired)

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman(retired)

 

Our Mission

To be a catalyst for positive change by 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, President*
New Mexico First
Albuquerque

Valerie Romero-Leggott, Chair*
UNM Health Sciences Center
Albuquerque

Clara Apodaca*
Albuquerque

Patrick Apodaca*
PNM
Albuquerque

Del Archuleta
Molzen Corbin
Albuquerque

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

Craig Buchanan*
US Bank
Las Cruces

Dino Cervantes*
Cervantes Enterprises
La Mesa

Laura Conniff
Mathers Realty, Inc
Las Cruces

John Counts
Western New Mexico University
Santa Fe

Kent Cravens
Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors
Albuquerque

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

Diane Denish
Building Bridges
Albuquerque

Sam Donaldson
ABC News
Washington, DC

Joan Drake*
Modrall Sperling
Albuquerque

Jason Espinoza
Association of Commerce and Industry
Albuquerque

Tom Garrity
The Garrity Group
Albuquerque

Rico Gonzales*
El Paso Electric
Las Cruces
  Clint Harden
Clint D. Harden and Associates
Clovis

Rynni Henderson
Las Cruces Sun News
Las Cruces

Matt Hunton
Hunton Insurance Agency
Portales

Kathy Keith
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos

Hayley Klein
Artesia Chamber of Commerce
Artesia

Carol Leach
Concho Resources Inc.
Albuquerque

Davin Lopez
Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance
Mesilla Valley

Richard Luarkie*
Emerging Equities Solutions Group
Laguna Pueblo

Johnny Montoya*
Century Link
Stanley

Cynthia Nava
New Mexico State Legislature (Retired)
Las Cruces

Brian Rashap
Intel
Rio Rancho

Jennifer Riordan
Wells Fargo
Albuquerque

George Rivera
Pueblo of Pojoaque
Pueblo of Pojoaque

Ron Rivera*
REDW
Albuquerque

Chris Stagg
Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
Taos

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

Tom Taylor*
Tom Taylor Development
Farmington

Peter Winograd*
UNM Center for Education Policy
Albuquerque


*Member of the Executive Committee

 

Robert G. Armstrong
Roswell

Jon Barela
Albuquerque

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

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

Senator Pete Domenici (retired)

Senator Jeff Bingaman (retired)

Senator Tom Udall

Senator Martin Heinrich

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham
Congressional District 1

Congressman Steve Pearce
Congressional District 2

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan
Congressional District 3

 

Dr. Steven Gamble
President, Eastern New Mexico University

Dr. James A. Fries
President, New Mexico Highlands University

Dr. Garrey Edward Carruthers
President, New Mexico State University

Dr. Daniel Lopez
President, New Mexico Tech

Dr. David Schmidly
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
Economic Policy Director
 
Sharon Berman
Project Director
 
Melanie Sanchez Eastwood
Communications and Outreach Director
 
Kelsey Rader
Natural Resources Policy Director
 
Tamara Lucero
Accountant
 

 









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