First Forum 2015

First Forum and Spirit of Bipartisanship Award 2015 First Forum and Spirit of Bipartisanship Award 2015

First Forum 2015

Ticket Cost: $100
(Our biennial fundraiser includes the reception and theater program)

Reception: 6:00 pm
Program: 7-8:30 pm
Location: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

Replay the Event

About the Event

From the Albuquerque Journal to The Washington Post, from individual tweets to widely read blogs, voters read that our government is broken. Partisan finger-pointing, money in politics, and voter distrust all contribute to a growing culture of negativity around politics. And yet government is a key element of our quality of life, providing education for our children, healthcare for the sick, and all forms of infrastructure including highways, public safety and water supply.

In this modern era of 24-hour news, social media, and strong party allegiances, is it possible to re-create a positive, productive political environment? How can our state foster a true spirit of collaboration among our elected leaders, while honoring authentic differences of opinion or priority? How can we enable our leaders to formulate and execute sound public policy, all while involving more citizens in the process? And what will it take to rekindle voter trust in our democratic process?

To answer these questions, New Mexico First will host its biennial fundraiser and education program 2015 First Forum: From Gridlock to Good Government! This panel of experts will address:

  1. Shifting away from a culture of gridlock in government
  2. Pros and cons of campaign finance (or “dark money”) reform
  3. Regaining public trust in the policymaking process

Former ABC journalist Sam Donaldson will moderate the discussion. Speakers include NM Representative Ken Martinez (D), NM House Majority Leader Nate Gentry (R), NM Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen (D), NM Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R), and additional policy experts. The program committee is chaired by New Mexico First board member Clara Apodaca.

Sam Donaldson

Sam DonaldsonModerator

Ken Martinez

Ken MartinezNM House Representative

Rep. Nate Gentry

Rep. Nate GentryNM House Majority Leader

Senator Mary Kay Papen

Senator Mary Kay PapenNM Senate President Pro Tempore

Senator Stuart Ingle

Senator Stuart IngleNM Senate Minority Leader

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Gold Sponsors

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Bronze Sponsors

Bueno Foods
Cervantes Enterprises
Sutin, Thayer & Browne

Spirit of Bipartisanship Awards

In addition to the Gridlock or Good Government discussion, we will honor New Mexico community leaders and lawmakers who have proven their ability to put good policy above partisan politics. A series of awards will be given to respected community leaders and lawmakers of both parties.

Award Recipients



David Abbey

David Abbey
Legislative Finance Committee Director

John D’Antonio

John D’Antonio
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy District Engineer and former NM State Engineer

Sander Rue

Sander Rue
New Mexico State Senator



Sharon Clahchischilliage

Sharon Clahchischilliage
New Mexico State Representative



Clara Apodaca

Clara Apodaca
Former first lady of New Mexico and active civic leader


The awardees were chosen by a bipartisan committee including Janet Green, Gene Baca, Clint Harden, Leean Kravitz, Cynthia Nava and Heather Balas.


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