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The Year of the Woman in the Land of Enchantment

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The year 2022 could very well be the Year of the Woman in New Mexico, particularly here in Doña Ana County.

If you read the Las Cruces Bulletin regularly, you already know all of the district city councilors are women. Mayor Ken Miyagishima, who is elected at large, will be the lone male on the Council this year.

The district councilors are Kasandra Gandara, Tessa Abeyta-Stuve, Becki Graham, Johana Bencomo, Becky Corran and Yvonne Flores.

Doña Ana County has a female sheriff, Kim Stewart.

New Mexico’s three U.S. representatives are all women: Rep. Melanie Stansbury is from the state’s Congressional District 1; Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez is from Congressional District 3; and representing Las Cruces and the rest of Congressional District 2 is Yvette Herrell.

When the New Mexico legislative session begins Jan. 18, it will mark the 12th consecutive year the state has been led by a female governor. For eight years from 2011-2018, Susana Martinez was governor. Succeeding Martinez has been Michelle Lujan Grisham, who will begin her fourth year in the state’s highest office.

Grisham will preside over a Legislature with no shortage of women.

The New Mexico House has more female representatives (37) than male (33), including several representing our region. From the state House in southwest New Mexico, we have Candie Sweetser, Micaela Lara Cadena, Angelica Rubio, Joanne Ferrary, Rebecca Dow, Gail Armstrong, Rachel Black, and Doreen Gallegos.

Our regional senators include Siah Correa Hemphill, Crystal Diamond, Carrie Hamblen and Liz Stefanics.

The Doña Ana County Commission has two women: the melodically named Diana Murillo-Trujillo in District 2 and Susana Chaparro in District 4.

Other county elected officials include Probate Judge Diana Bustamante, Clerk Amanda Lopez Askin and Assessor Leticia Duarte-Benavidez, a former county commissioner.

Another former Doña County Commissioner, Isabela Solis, is running for lieutenant governor, and State Rep. Dow is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Other women judges include U.S. District Judge Margaret Strickland, U.S. Magistrate Chief Judge Carmen Garza, State District judges Marci Beyer, Mary Rosner, Grace Duran and Presiding Municipal Judge Joy Goldbaum.

Monica Torres is president of Doña Ana Community College, Bobbie Green heads the Doña Ana Chapter of the NAACP and dozens and dozens of women in the Las Cruces area are owners and/or operators of vital businesses.

State Sen. Hamblen heads the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, and our other chambers also have women leadership. Debbi Moore is president & CEO of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, and Belia Alvarez serves as board chair for the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

All of this should come as no surprise.

In fact, the only thing surprising would be if anyone found this surprising. Women have done most of the world’s hardest work since the dawn of time.

And even though women have been able to vote in the United States for a century now, their representation in government has lagged behind.

All of us have mothers. For many, mom is the most important person in our lives. Women are siblings, spouses, daughters, friends, relatives, teachers, bosses, employees and more.

We’ve long had a female majority team here at the Las Cruces Bulletin. A shout out to the current women who help make the Bulletin go: Maggie Adams, Claire Frohs, Becky Jimenez, Jamila Khalil, Amelia Ontiveros, Elva Osterreich, Kassidy Schmidt and Teresa Tolonen.

When the Bulletin was founded, in 1969, the president was a woman, Doris M. Donnelly Boyd. When FIG Publications owned the Bulletin from 2003-12, the president was a woman, Jaki McCollum. And now, after the Osteen family re-structured its ownership of the Bulletin, our president (and CEO) is again a woman, Julie Osteen.

Sometimes it feels like we’re moving to a gender-neutral society, where it could one day be offensive or obsolete to recognize a person’s status as a he or a she. I hope that day never comes, because there is so much love and power behind great women. So please join me in a toast: Cheers to all the women in the world!

Thank you for all you have done for all of us in our lives, and thanks for all you will do in 2022.