James C. Jimenez, MPA Executive Director
James joined NM Voices in 2013 as the Director of Research and Policy and was hired as Executive Director in 2016. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration. In both positions he draws from his considerable experience in using the budget as a strategic tool while working in state and city government. James served as the Chief of Staff under Governor Bill Richardson from 2006 to 2008, and as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration from 2003 to 2006. He was also City Manager for the city of Rio Rancho and serves on the boards of directors for several nonprofit organizations.
Gerry Bradley, MA Senior Researcher & Policy Analyst
Gerry has headed our research department since 2004. Previously, he served as an economist with several state agencies. While he was Bureau Chief of the Economic Research and Statistics Bureau at the state’s Labor Department, Gerry served on several national-level advisory groups on labor statistics sponsored by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has conducted regional economic analyses including input-output modeling, and performed fiscal impact analysis of bills before the state Legislature. Gerry is one of the state’s most respected experts in the field of labor and economics and has an extensive background in tax and policy analysis.
Armelle Casau, Ph.D. Research & Policy Analyst
Armelle works on a variety of education policy issues, ranging from increasing access to quality early childhood education to college affordability and expanding career pathways. She also works with the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network on their STEM education policy and systems-building efforts. Prior to joining NM Voices in 2013, she was a Policy Intern at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM. She also worked for a decade at Explora Science Center as one of the directors and as a science educator/writer. She has a PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University.
Farah Council, MA Development Director
Farah joined NM Voices in early 2017, bringing with her an extensive background in non-profit management, program design and evaluation, and fund cultivation, among other skills. She most recently held an adjunct faculty position at the SIT Graduate Institute as well as served as a strategic advisor to several internationally focused non-profit organizations. Prior to that she was the program manager at The Institute for Inclusive Security, leading an innovative program in a conflict-affected setting to advance women’s inclusion in peace processes in Sudan and South Sudan. She holds an MA in Conflict Transformation from the School for International Training and a BA in Political Science from UNM.
Martha Files Operational Support Specialist
Martha has worked in education in the area of administrative support since moving here from the East Coast in the mid-1980s. She has worked for several schools whose students face specific challenges. These include New Futures, an alternative high school for pregnant and parenting teens, Charter Vocational High School, and Albuquerque Charter Academy. She joined NM Voices in 2016 upon her retirement from the educational system.
Bill Jordan, MA Senior Policy Advisor & Government Relations Officer
Bill has been with NM Voices since 1998 and leads our legislative advocacy efforts in Santa Fe and Washington, D.C., working primarily with lawmakers on issues such as raising the minimum wage, creating a state-level earned income tax credit, expanding access to health care, passing the child helmet safety law, and the like. Bill is relied upon by many legislators for data and information relating to the legislation they are voting on or writing. He was appointed to Governor Richardson’s Equal Pay Task Force and his Budget Balancing Task Force. Previously, Bill was Executive Director of the HIV Coordinating Council of New Mexico.
Sharon Kayne Communications Director
Sharon joined NM Voices as Communications Director in 2006. In crafting and framing NM Voices’ messages and issues – whether in op-eds, press releases, newsletters or reports – she relies extensively on her writing/editing background. She worked previously as Managing Editor and featured Columnist for the Albuquerque-based alternative paper Crosswinds Weekly and was a television news producer at KOAT, the ABC affiliate in New Mexico. She has contributed as a freelancer to many of Albuquerque’s newspapers and periodicals. She has a BA from Arizona State University.
Raphael Pacheco, MBA State Priorities Partnership Fellow
Raphael joined NM Voices as a Fellow from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities through the State Policy Fellowship Program as part of their 2016 cohort. Prior to joining the NM Voices team, he worked as a student intern for the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico. There he was a regular contributor to the New Mexico Business monthly report, worked as a data analyst supporting current research efforts, and helped chronicle the economic impact of various industries in the state from a data-driven perspective. He earned his MBA from UNM.
Brian Urban Operations Manager
Brian wears a number of hats at NM Voices—from managing the office to overseeing the donor database, helping coordinate and run our events, with a little graphic design thrown in. Brian first came to NM Voices as part of our Youth Link program, which trained middle- and high-school youths in the act of advocacy using tobacco prevention as a tangible issue. His bachelor’s degree is from the University of New Mexico.
Amber Wallin, MPA KIDS COUNT Director
As KIDS COUNT Director, Amber creates the annual data book and special reports, and oversees the New Mexico pages of the Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center. She also does policy research on early childhood, tax and budget, food security, and family economic security issues. She came to NM Voices in 2012 as a Fellow from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ State Priorities Partnership program, after which she joined the staff as a Research and Policy Analyst. Prior to joining NM Voices, Amber served as a Budget Analyst for the city of Las Cruces. She received her masters of public administration from New Mexico State University.
Board of Directors
Donald Simonson, Ph.D. Board Co-Chair
Don earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is Professor Emeritus in finance at the University of New Mexico. He has authored books on bank management and held endowed chairs in banking and finance at the University of Oklahoma and UNM. He has served as a financial sector advisor-in-residence at several central banks in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
Fred Harris, J.D. Board Co-Chair
Fred, a twice-elected former U.S. Senator (OK, 1964-1973), is a Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of New Mexico, where he also serves as Director of the UNM Fred Harris Congressional Internship Program. He has produced 19 nonfiction books and is the award-winning author of three novels.
Patricia Rodriguez, Ph.D. Vice Chair
Patricia serves as Early Childhood Manager for the Region VI Office of Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Network. She has over 25 years of experience in early care and education as a public school teacher, mentor teacher, university faculty member, researcher, and consultant. Patricia completed her doctorate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Robert P. McNeill, J.D. Board Treasurer
Bob has maintained a private law practice in Albuquerque for the past 30 years, having earned his law degree from the UNM School of Law in 1967. He previously held a number of senior positions in government and the private sector in New Mexico and Washington, D.C., including Law Clerk to the Chief U.S. Federal Judge in New Mexico, Chief of Staff to the late U.S. Senator Joseph M. Montoya, Executive Director of the American Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Secretary of the New Mexico Health and Environment Department, and Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Mexico.
Kenneth J. Martinez, Psy.D. Board Secretary
Ken is a Clinical Psychologist and Principal Researcher at American Institutes for Research, leading an initiative that addresses health inequities of vulnerable populations. He was lead author of the Blueprint for Using Data to Reduce Disparities/Disproportionalities in Human Services and Behavioral Health Care, a framework and multi-step process to reduce disparities and disproportionalities in communities and states. He is also a resource specialist and lead disparities reduction resource with the National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor of psychiatry at the UNM Health Sciences Center.
Javier Aceves, M.D.
Javier is a General Pediatrician at Young Children’s Health Center and Professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center. He earned his medical degree at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and did his residency at the University of Texas in Houston.
Debra L. Baca, MA
Debra has worked since 1988 at Youth Development, Inc., where she currently serves as the Vice President of Early Childhood Education and Family Development. She works directly with families of preschool-age children to create safe, healthy and inviting centers for learning and development. Besides overseeing programs such as Head Start and NM Pre-K, Debra leads several early childhood projects that focus on homeless children, special education services, and family advocacy.
Nathan Cote, Ed.D.
Nate spent his career as a civilian Human Resources Manager with the U.S. Air Force and had assignments to both Europe and Asia. After his civil service retirement, he became an Academic Director and Assistant Professor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s World-Wide Campus. Nate was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2006 and served three terms. One of the many pieces of legislation he passed was in support of military families and children. He is currently active and an officer with his local Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter. He has multiple master’s degrees and earned his doctorate from Argosy University, Phoenix campus.
Kimberly Curry, J.D.
Kimberly is a family immigration and criminal defense attorney. She was born and raised in Hobbs, moved to Texas to begin a career as a flight attendant, and eventually relocated to California. Because of her desire to positively impact her native state, she returned home to practice law in 2008. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Before opening her own practice she was an Assistant District Attorney for the state of New Mexico and served as a member of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force.
Polly is the author of Mississippi Entrepreneurs, a book that tells the stories of 85 visionary business, social, and cultural entrepreneurs. She was communications director for the National Commission on Children, chaired by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller. At Hager Sharp her accounts included the Annie E. Casey Foundation (KIDS COUNT program). Polly was a reporter for the Congressional Monitor, a consultant to the Joint Center for Political Studies during the campaign to extend the Voting Rights Act, and served on the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee. She was a trustee for American Rivers and the Potomac Conservancy. A graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, she studied with writer-in-residence Eudora Welty.
Antonio is a community advocate at the Partnership for Community Action (PCA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building strong, healthy communities throughout New Mexico. Antonio communicates with PCA’s community during the legislative session, teaches alternative substance abuse prevention courses to high school students, leads interns during the Youth Employment Summer Institute, and orients new parents upon graduation of Abriendo Puertas curriculum. Antonio is also an actor, instructor, and academic tutor at Working Classroom, a nonprofit theater and visual arts organization. He studies public policy, community planning, and education as an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico.
Susan is the founding director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation. Starting virtually from scratch, Susan built the LANL Foundation into a major philanthropic leader in northern New Mexico. With an endowment of $72 million, the foundation awards more than $50 million in grants to public schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the seven northern counties. The foundations also has been instrumental in implementing the First Born Home Visiting Program that now has programs in 14 out of 35 counties in the state. She served as CEO, giving 17 years of service to the foundation.
Cindy is a graduate student at the University of New Mexico working towards a Master’s in educational leadership and policy. She is a graduate research assistant for the Center for Education Policy Research and the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy, both at UNM, as well as an ENLACE NM Graduate Outreach fellow. An undocumented immigrant―or “dreamer”―Cindy has overcome many barriers to take key positions at the state and national levels, including serving as the first undocumented student body president at the Santa Fe Community College, the first dreamer to serve as an intern for the National Democratic Committee, and the first dreamer to be awarded the Rising Star Award by the NM Democratic Party. She blogs for the Huffington Post.
Gloria Rendon, Ph.D.
Gloria has worked for 42 years in education, most recently as executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders. She worked many years as a teacher and in a variety of school and district leadership roles in the Santa Fe Public Schools.
Diana Valdez, Ph.D.
Diana has worked as a Clinical Psychologist for Bernalillo Public Schools since 2005. She has also worked as a school psychologist in Santo Domingo, Cochiti, and Algodones. She was at UNM’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for 23 years, working in the areas of child and family therapy, developmental disabilities, and forensic psychology. For the past ten years, she has advocated for mental health services for children and families in rural communities who are grossly underserved, yet who maintain their rich traditions and whose cultural histories shape the fabric of our state. She earned her PhD in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside.
Luis Vargas, Ph.D.
Luis is a clinical psychologist at Samaritan Counseling Center/St. Joseph’s Center for Children and Families. He is an Associate Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He did his internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and a postdoctoral fellowship at the USC Institute of Psychiatry and Law.