First Forum 2017

First Forum 2017

Date(s): 7-JUNE-2017

5:30 PM Reception
6:30 PM Program
First Forum 2017 Ticket Cost: $100
(Event includes reception and theater program)

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



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.

Join 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 features 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 will come 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 offer practical recommendations that point a way forward. Most crucially, they will remind New Mexicans of the principles enshrined in the Constitution, the necessity of debate, and the imperative of compromise. These longstanding policymakers argue 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.

New Mexico First Leadership

New Mexico First board chair, Valerie Romero-Leggott, First Forum Chair Johnny Montoya, and the president of the organization Heather Balas will also speak.

Johnny MontoyaValerie Romero-LeggottHeather Balas

About Sponsors

Funding support of this important event is 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!

Would you like to become a sponsor? Please email Jan Bandrofchak at

About the Spirit of Bipartisanship Awards

During the event, we will honor New Mexico lawmakers and community members who have proven their ability to put good policy above partisan politics. A series of awards will be given to respected lawmakers of both parties. Awards will honor hard work on issues such as education, economy, healthcare, water or lifetime achievement. (View Past Awardees)

Please use the form below to submit your nomination. If you have any questions, email us at

Spirit of Bipartisanship Award Nomination Form

Submit your nomination by Friday, March 31, 2017!

Ticket Details


$100 (This fundraiser includes a reception and lecture program)

New Mexico First is committed to advancing civic engagement among all New Mexicans. We have a limited number of scholarships. If you are a student or other person in need of a fee waiver, please email us at

Buy tickets today!

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Some of Our Sponsors