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
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
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
The list below offers a high-level summary. Additional details on each recommendation
are provided in the complete report that follows.
partnerships that make students more competitive.
Strength best practices
in the teaching profession that impact student achievement.
align New Mexico's workforce development systems.
substance abuse programs.
Enable income growth
by preparing New Mexican adults and children to read.
Create a statewide
charter school youth council.
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
state and regional plans to develop a comprehensive water strategy.
Develop a long-range,
statewide energy plan.
equity and access without regard to income, ethnicity, or health status.
Foster an engaged
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.
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 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
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.