First Forum 2017

First Forum 2017

Date: 7-JUNE-2017

5:30 PM Reception
6:30 PM Program

Location: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

Crisis Point: Advancing Healthy Politics in New Mexico


Across the nation, Americans sound an alarm that political polarization makes governing, neighboring or even Facebooking increasingly grim. People's faith in a united nation has perhaps never been so low. While such challenges also exist in New Mexico, leaders in our state can choose a different path – and many of them do.

Nearly 350 New Mexicans joined New Mexico First for an exciting evening on strengthening and rewarding a healthy democracy in our Land of Enchantment.

The organization’s biennial First Forum this year featured retired U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott. Two of the most prominent senators of recent time, these men have devoted almost 60 years of public service between them. Lott and Daschle came together from opposite sides of the aisle to itemize damaging forces – such as the permanent campaign, unprecedented money, or the 24/7 news cycle – and offered practical recommendations that point a way forward. Most crucially, they reminded New Mexicans of the principles enshrined in the Constitution, the necessity of debate, and the imperative of compromise. These longstanding policymakers argued it will take leadership, vision, and courage to repair American politics. They are co-authors of Crisis Point: Why We Must – and How We Can – Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America.

New Mexico First is proud to host First Forum because we have championed collaborative policymaking for three decades. (Yes, it’s our 30th anniversary!) Every other year, our public policy organization organizes the First Forum lecture series to highlight important issues facing our nation and New Mexico. Ticket sales from the event provide essential monetary resources for the nonprofit. This educational event gives people in our state the opportunity to hear national leading figures address topics unique to their individual expertise.

2015 First Forum

About the Speakers

Tom Daschle, a Democrat, was U.S. Senator for South Dakota from 1987 to 2005. During his tenure, served as both majority and minority leader.

Trent Lott, a Republican, was U.S. Senator for Mississippi from 1989 to 2007. As a senator, he held various positions including majority leader and minority leader.

Sam Donaldson, retired ABC Newsman, will moderate. Mr. Donaldson has covered national news for decades, including serving as chief White House Correspondent.

About New Mexico First Leadership



 Johnny Montoya
Fundraising Chair
Ricardo Gonzales
Awards Chair
Heather Balas
Executive Director


Crisis Point: Advancing Healthy Politics in New Mexico

About Sponsors

Funding support of this important event was critical to fulfilling the important mission of New Mexico First. We would not be able to hold the event without the generous contributions from our community! We thank the following companies for their support!

Senatorial Statesman

Roundhouse Racers


Consensus Campaigners




Commissioner Wayne Johnson

Additional Sponsors
Heritage Hotels
The Blackwell Family
The Kirby Family

Would you like to become a sponsor? Please email us at

Crisis Point: Advancing Healthy Politics in New Mexico

About the Spirit of Bipartisanship Awards

New Mexico First recognized five outstanding leaders for their exceptional commitments to collaboration and effective policy.


Team Builders
Representative James E. Smith, New Mexico Legislature (R)
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, New Mexico Legislature (D)

Excellence in Education
Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, New Mexico Legislature (D)

Up and Comer
Representative Jim Dines, New Mexico Legislature (R)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Sherman McCorkle, retired executive and longstanding civic leader

Rep. Smith
Rep. Garcia
 Rep. Dines
Sen. Ivey-Soto

The nominations were submitted by New Mexicans statewide. The awardees were chosen by a bipartisan committee including Ricardo Gonzales, Heather Balas, Jason Espinoza, Clint Harden, Hayley Klein, Johnny Montoya, Cynthia Nava, Jennifer Riordan, George Rivera and Peter Winograd.

(View Past Awardees)

Some of Our Sponsors