Sunday, September 19, 2010

Denish Not New Mexico First "Founder"

The Albuquerque Journal’s profile this morning of Lt. Gov. Diane Denish listed her as “founder” of New Mexico First, the public policy group. This is an error. At best Denish was co-founder of the group with William G. “Bing” Grady, then president of Sunwest Bank of Albuquerque, formerly Albuquerque National Bank. (Photo of William G. Grady by Mark Bralley.)

Even “co-founder” credit may be an overstatement. Grady and Denish led a task force that put together New Mexico First. To give Grady and Denish “founder” credit leaves out the task force, several of whom played huge roles in formulating what became New Mexico First. My role, stemming from being the communications person at Sunwest Bank, was to provide staff support for Grady.

As I remember, the task force grew from a 1986 meeting in Las Cruces at the old Holiday Inn between Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, inn-owner Buddy Ritter and maybe one of two others. On the task force,Grady represented Domenici and Denish represented Bingaman. They were charged with doing something to create a broad public forum in New Mexico.

For what it’s worth, New Mexico First ( says Domenici and Bingaman were the co-founders.

A number of groups had been exploring the idea for broad thinking about the future of the state. The task force pulled the groups together. Some felt usurped by the senators. That was too bad.

1 comment:

Carol Cochran said...

As a point of clarification regarding the above post, New Mexico First was founded in 1986 by a small group of citizens from both parties, including Diane Denish. Ms. Denish served on the organization's founding board of directors and was its second board chair. Our formal co-founders are U.S. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman.

In short, Ms. Denish was not THE founder of New Mexico First, but she was A founder, along with Bing Grady and others.

Carol Cochran
Chair, New Mexico First Board of Directors