Senator Mary Kay Papen, President Pro Tem of the New Mexico Senate

Air Dates: February 2-4, 2013

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Senator Mary Kay Papen, Democrat from Dona Ana County, and the newly elected President Pro-Tem of the New Mexico State Senate.

QUOTE: “Somebody said I was going to be a rubber stamp for the governor, and nothing could be further from the truth...They don't know me very well. When the governor has things that she is presenting and bringing forth that I can support, I'll be behind her a hundred percent. And if it's something that I can't support, then I'll try and reach a compromise with her.”

Senator Papen describes the road that led her to the Senate Pro Tem post, starting with visits to the legislature as a citizen advocate for domestic violence and mental health issues, proceeding through election as a senator from Dona Ana County in 2000, and culminating in the top leadership post in the New Mexico Senate.

In 2012, Papen was named “State Legislator of the Year,” a national award from the American Psychological Association Practice Organization. The New Mexico State Senate gave her the prestigious 2012 Milagro Award. In 2010 NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, honored her with the Domenici Family Award for her service.

The Pro Tem addresses mental health issues in current gun violence legislative discussions, her multi-year efforts on behalf of Spaceport America, and her bills for drug testing enhancements that will help reform the horse racing industry. Other hot topics include help for colonias, and shoring up the state's retirement funds.

---QUOTES: “Looking into the future... we're looking at money. Where are we going to go with the money, where are we going to go with the loopholes that we have? When money is short, everybody is looking for every loophole that they can find - to lean out, grab that money, move it in there.”

“Education is another big piece that we're having to look at. And the drop-outs, and retaining people in school all the way through college, university, and giving them the best education that we possibly can, because they're our workforce, and that is economic development.”