Rep. Rebecca Dow Recognized with NM First’s Spirit of Bipartisanship Award
By Veronica Rodriguez
On June 6, 2019, New Mexico First, a statewide nonpartisan policy advocacy and development group, will honor Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) with their 2019 “Spirit of Bipartisanship” award during their ninth annual awards ceremony in Albuquerque, NM.
“New Mexico First is proud to recognize lawmakers, journalists and community leaders who put the people of New Mexico first and work to find good solutions to the challenges we face. This award shines the spotlight on hard-working role models who put good policy or fair coverage above partisan politics,” said former state senator and Spirit Award selection committee chair Cynthia Nava in the award announcement.
The distinction serves as a tribute to Dow’s reputation among her constituents in House District 38 as well as her colleagues in Santa Fe.
“I try to listen and represent the people in my district, regardless of party affiliation,” said Dow. “This award lets me know I’m doing the job my constituents expect of me.”
Being honored for her political achievements wasn’t something Dow envisioned when she and her family returned to her childhood hometown of Truth or Consequences, NM, in 1999. Back then, politics was the furthest thought from her mind.
“My main focus was on improving early childhood care in my community,” said Dow. “I felt sure that by helping families raise healthy and happy children, we could make Sierra County a more vibrant place to live.”
Dow founded AppleTree Educational Center. The effort became the catalyst for many other endeavors, including Manzano Christian School, The Club Teen Center, and Little Things Matter home visiting program.
Her success in creating safe and supportive environments for children caused elected officials to take notice. Many recruited her to serve on various boards and advisory committees. She quickly learned that there was often a disconnect between the good intentions of policymakers and the on-the-ground implications of the regulations they created.
“Sometimes officials create programs aren’t even requested by front-line service providers,” said Dow. “There was so much waste and unnecessary bureaucracy, and the best way I saw to change that was to become part of the discussion as a state representative.”
In 2016, Dow announced she was running for the NM House of Representatives seat for District 38 that was being vacated by Silver City resident Dianne Hamilton. District 38 covers a wide geographic area from Sierra County westward to the Arizona-New Mexico border. There are about 29,000 residents in District 38. 44% of the registered voters in the district are Democrats, and 34% are Republicans.
Even though she ran as a Republican newcomer in a Democrat-leaning district, she won the race by nine percentage points over her opponent. She was reelected by the same margin in 2018.
Dow committed to working across party lines in the House of Representatives. She developed alliances with her counterparts across the aisle to advance legislation related to early childhood development, foster care, and rural economic development.
During this past session, five of her bills were signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. All of her successful bills were bipartisan efforts. They included measures to auto-enroll seniors in Medicare Part B and offer free admission to New Mexico’s state parks and museums to foster families. She also worked with Democrats from Grant County to defeat two controversial bills that would have had devastating consequences for the county’s mining industry.
Dow is often viewed as a friendly and pragmatic deal maker among her fellow legislators. Her experience as an early childhood educator and small business owner allows her to bring first-hand knowledge to floor debates and committee discussions on many important issues facing New Mexico.
“One party doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas,” said Dow. “We are all New Mexicans, and everyone’s voice should matter. We’ll never build the kind of state I know we can be unless we work together.”
New Mexico First will honor Dow and other Spirit awardees at their annual First Forum scheduled for Thursday, June 6. The ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Keller Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico. Tickets are $30 each and may be purchased through New Mexico’s First’s website: nmfirst.org.