SENATOR MICHAEL PADILLA
Coming from a business background and being an entrepreneur, freshman Senator Michael Padilla (Bernalillo, District 14) not only brings a solid business background to the New Mexico State Senate but a good attitude as well.
Senator Padilla owns Altivus CRM Solutions. The company builds and repairs call centers. Currently, all 23 ACS call centers run by the company are located in the United States.
Padilla was born and raised in Las Padillas, a historic neighborhood on Albuquerque’s southwest side. He was raised primarily by his grandparents, one a teacher and the other a homemaker. He has two sons, Aaron and Zackary, and his partner of 12 years, Cristina, also has two boys, Dave and Tomas.Senator Padilla says that transitioning to the Senate from running a business and being a parent feels like “trying to take a sip from a fire hydrant.”
“There are a myriad of people visiting me,” Senator Padilla says. “It is really helping me learn; they are informed about things and their effort is very important.”
Although his first legislative session will last only 60 days, Senator Padilla says he will focus on job creation, early childhood education, and social justice. Padilla’s first bill, Senate Bill 92, “No Differential Pricing Based on Gender,” was heard before the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
“I would liken my first committee hearing to being a lawyer and arguing your very first case,” Senator Padilla reflects. “The nerves were there, but it was a good feeling, especially since the bill passed on to the next committee.”
In the Senate, Padilla looks to fellow senators Mary Kay Papen, Michael S. Sanchez, and Cisco McSorley as mentors because they “cover the spectrum of democratic values and ideals.”
Watch a video of Senator Padilla talking about being in the New Mexico State Senate.
SENATOR WILLIAM SOULES
Las Cruces area Senator William Soules, a lifelong New Mexican with teaching and learning oozing through his veins, says he has never learned so much in such a short period of time than during his first three weeks as a freshman state senator.
“The land grant, water issues and lawsuits,” Senator Soules says, “the depth and breadth of what I am learning — as a teacher who is always trying to learn more — it has been such a great experience.”
Senator Soules grew up in Las Cruces, attended Mesilla Park Elementary, Zia Middle School and Las Cruces High School. His father was a physics professor and his mother a teacher and social worker. His personally expanded pedigree as a university professor, middle-school principal and math teacher at Onate High School isn’t surprising.
But the State Senate is not Soules first experience at elected office. He served on the Las Cruces School Board from 1992 to 2000. Soules was elected to the Senate last year by almost five percentage points.“It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t spent so much time going door to door, talking to the people of Las Cruces,” he points out. “They elected me and I am very grateful.”
Essentially unknown to his constituents during the campaign, Senator Soules walked door to door with a torn ACL, which he injured playing volleyball. “I had surgery two days after the election,” he remembers. “I have always been a volleyball player and a coach.”
The message of his campaign revolved around education and conservation. That resonated message serves him well in terms of committee assignments: He is vice chair of Senate Education and a member of Senate Conservation.
“Fixing education means having the political will to make tough decisions,” Senator Soules said. “If we don’t tap the Land Grant Fund for early education, then we have to find additional money elsewhere.
“In terms of conservation it is simple — we have to keep New Mexico the Land of Enchantment.”
Senator Soules received wide-ranging publicity early on during the 2013 Session after announcing that he would sponsor a bill to raise the statewide minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. If passed this would make New Mexico the third-highest minimum wage state in the Nation.
“It is the right thing to do for the people of New Mexico. Not only does it have the affect of helping people rise up out of poverty, that it turn affects our education system and our economy. All of the research shows that raising the minimum wage has either a positive or neutral effect. In New Mexico I foresee it being positive.”
As mentors in the Senate, Soules names fellow senators Peter Wirth, Linda Lopez, Howie Morales, Tim Keller and Gerald Ortiz y Pino.
Watch a video of Senator Soules talking about being in the New Mexico State Senate.