2012 New Mexico Centennial Town Hall


When asked to envision the future, New Mexicans call for a wide range of reforms. They want an education system that prepares children for careers of the future, comprehensive strategies for meeting our water and energy needs, and policies that grow our state’s economic base. New Mexicans also want teachers who are prepared to advance current academic standards and substance abuse prevention that steers teens from drugs. 

These recommendations and others resulted from the New Mexico Centennial Town Hall, held April 22-23, 2012 in Albuquerque. The town hall produced a platform of 14 consensus recommendations, all garnering support from at least three-fourths of the participants. Half of the recommendations achieved 90 percent support or higher. 

Who Came?

With almost 200 registrants, the event included people from all regions of the state. Participants came from urban, rural, and tribal communities – and they included teachers, business people, parents, students, public officials, advocates, government officials, and others. About half of the participants attended the event for free; the other half paid a voluntary $100 registration fee that covered meals and snack breaks during the two-day deliberation.  

Town Hall Process

The event opened with guest speakers, including Governor Susana Martinez, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, video presentations from U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, and a panel of experts in education, healthcare, energy, and economic development. Participants then divided into small groups, during which they assessed New Mexico’s greatest opportunities and weaknesses. They prioritized those issues into 14 discreet recommendations. In their small groups, each participant worked directly on two recommendations, and then all participants reviewed and refined the work of the other groups. 

New Mexico Progress Report

Prior to the town hall, all participants received the New Mexico Progress Report, which provided key indicators in the areas of education, economy, healthcare, and energy.

Recommendation Summary

The list below offers a high-level summary. Additional details on each recommendation are provided in the complete report that follows. 

Create education partnerships that make students more competitive.
Strength best practices in the teaching profession that impact student achievement. 
Restructure and align New Mexico's workforce development systems. 
Increase peer-based substance abuse programs. 
Strengthen early childhood education.
Enable income growth by preparing New Mexican adults and children to read.
Create a statewide charter school youth council.

Create economic policies to retain and grow existing economic base industries.  
Develop a fair and equitable tax system that reflects changing industries. 

Natural Resources, Health, and Democracy
Update existing state and regional plans to develop a comprehensive water strategy. 
Develop a long-range, statewide energy plan.
Achieve healthcare equity and access without regard to income, ethnicity, or health status.
Foster an engaged citizenry.


We are pleased to report that the Centennial Implementation Team, based on the town hall recommendations, has drafted a legislative platform that will be used to advance policy changes in New Mexico. Our implementation team has met several times and we believe we have aligned to the language to the town hall platform. We propose specific advocacy in the areas of water, substance abuse, education, economic development, and healthcare. Click hereto visit the 2013 Legislative Platform website or download the 2013 New Mexico First Legislative Platform.

New Mexico First organized an implementation team to advance the town hall’s priorities. The process is co-chaired by Toney Anaya and Edward Lujan. The process will run several months.

Speakers & Leadership

Keynote & Government Officials

Governor Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez is the Governor of the State of New Mexico, the first Latina governor in United States history. Prior to being elected, Governor Martinez was the District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico, a position she held for 14 years. She has personally tried some of the toughest cases, including child abuse and child homicide and was named Heart Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” for her dedication to children’s advocacy and her efforts to keep children. The Hispanic Business Magazine named Governor Martinez “Woman of the Year” for her efforts to reduce the tax burden in New Mexico, get the state’s fiscal house in order, and promote a friendlier business environment that will allow employers to create jobs and hire New Mexico workers. 

Mayor Richard Berry 

Richard Berry is Mayor of the City of Albuquerque. He is an accomplished businessman and entrepreneur with over 20 years of business experience in New Mexico and the greater southwest region. As a former two-term state representative from Albuquerque, he championed fiscal responsibility and transparency, greater public safety, and improved opportunities for all New Mexicans. Mayor Berry attended the University of New Mexico, where he received his degree in finance and administration. The Mayor and First Lady are active members of the community, participating in events such as the Run for the Zoo, community festivals, and volunteering at local charities.

Roundtable Participants

Dr. Lowell Catlett  

Dr. Lowell Catlett is a Regent’s Professor/Dean and Chief Administrative Officer at New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. He works on behalf of corporate and association audiences internationally, presenting his take on trends in healthcare, agriculture, the environment, education, and more. Dr. Catlett is a consultant to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, Defense, and Labor. He has also been a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies. He has received numerous awards for excellence in university teaching.

Dale Dekker 

Dale Dekker, AIA, AICP, is founder of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. He has over 30 years experience as a registered architect and planner. His experience includes high tech, one-of-a-kind research facilities for Sandia National Laboratory, award winning school designs for Albuquerque Public Schools, and socially responsible designs of assisted living facilities for the elderly. Mr. Dekker serves on the executive committee of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the boards of Albuquerque Economic Development and NAIOP. He has been appointed to the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission and the State Workforce Board by Governor Susana Martinez. 

Fred Mondragón

Fred Mondragón is the former Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Economic Development in the Richardson administration. Mr. Mondragón has also been a member of the Office of Economic Development, City of Albuquerque, where he participated in the recruitment or expansion of Tesla Motors, Verizon Wireless, Eclipse Aviation, Advent Solar, and Albuquerque Studios. Mr. Mondragón served three terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives where he represented District 16.

Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott 

Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott is Vice Chancellor for Diversity at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Associate Dean of the School of Medicine Office of Diversity, and Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.  She has extensive experience in teaching cultural competence, developing educational pipelines for disadvantaged youth, and working with minority women in medicine.  Dr. Romero-Leggott has been a primary care provider for many years on the forefront of treating populations burdened by socio-economic and racial and ethnic disparities. She has received numerous awards and is recognized nationally for her leadership.

Town Hall Leadership

Governor Toney Anaya

Toney Anaya, former Governor and Attorney General of New Mexico, has been an attorney and businessman for over 40 years.  As a consultant to the Government of Mexico, he participated in negotiations and passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the U.S. Congress.  Mr. Anaya is an advisor to major U.S. corporations, universities, and health care facilities. He is an internationally recognized Hispanic leader who has demonstrated commitment and accomplishments in education, economic development, and international trade.  As Implementation Team Co-chair for the town hall, Mr. Anaya will lead the effort to advance the recommendations with state and local leaders.

Edward Lujan

Edward Lujan is Chairman of the Board of Manuel Lujan Insurance, Inc. a family business and the second largest independent insurance agency in New Mexico. He currently serves as a board director of Valor Telecommunications, LLC, Wells Fargo Bank, and Robert O. Anderson Schools of Management Foundation. Mr. Lujan is also a member of the Governor’s Business Advisory Council and chair of the New Mexico Economic Development Commission. He is former chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico.As Implementation Team Co-chair for the town hall, Mr. Lujan will lead the effort to advance the recommendations with state and local leaders.

Governor Garrey Carruthers

Garrey Carruthers, former Governor of New Mexico, is Dean of the College of Business at New Mexico State University and is a New Mexico First Board Member. He also serves as the Vice President for Economic Development at the university. Mr. Carruthers served in the Reagan administration twice, in the Departments of Agriculture and Interior. He was a successful Governor of New Mexico, serving as the last constitutionally limited, four-year single-term governor. He holds degrees in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business.As Plenary Chair during the town hall, Governor Carruthers will lead the closing session during which the final recommendations are worked out. 

Heather Balas

Heather Balas is President and Executive Director of New Mexico First. A fifth-generation New Mexican, Ms. Balas worked in Washington, DC, and San Francisco for several years before returning to her home state. She has over 15 years experience in public policy work, including citizen outreach, voter education, coalition-building, and policy research. Previous employers include the Commission on Presidential Debates, the California Center for Civic Participation, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. She holds a Masters in political communication from the University of Maryland.


About the New Mexico Progress Report

This report was designed to broaden the understanding of citizens and lawmakers about issues facing New Mexico. The report reveals a vision for the future, challenges that must be overcome, measures of progress, and potential solutions. It focuses on: education, economy, health and energy issues. It is the result of closely examining 25 years of town hall recommendations, and thus the best ideas of thousands of New Mexicans.  This report will be used to inform participants about issues that are important to New Mexicans and will aide in the group discussions for the town hall.

  • 2012 New Mexico Progress Report 2012 New Mexico Progress Report
    A Snapshot of New Mexico’s Status in: education, economy, energy and health   21-Feb-2012
  • Final Report

  • Town Hall 39-Centennial: Recommendations Town Hall 39-Centennial: Recommendations
    New Mexico Centennial   22-Mar-2012

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