The New Mexico Amigos

The New Mexico Amigos is a private, non-profit and non-partisan corporation chartered under the laws of the state of New Mexico and officially designated as the Goodwill Ambassadors for New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. The Amigos is a unique organization in that it is not supported by public funds, is free to select its activities and represents New Mexico as a whole rather than a specific city or an area. Its members are distinguished New Mexican civic, business, industrial and professional leaders who devote their time and financial support to the organization.

An Amigo must be a leader in their community, a decision-maker in their business, company or profession, and meet other rigid membership qualifications. The organization is limited to 280 active members divided among nine districts and is governed by a board of directors headed by a president.

While the annual Goodwill Flight attracts the most attention, the Amigos participate in many other activities to promote the state of New Mexico. Frequently, they act as hosts for important groups visiting the state. They support the programs of other organizations that are acting in the interest of New Mexico.

History

The Amigos was formed in 1962 during the celebration of New Mexico’s golden anniversary as a state. As a part of the celebration, 85 of New Mexico’s leading citizens chartered an aircraft at their own expense and visited Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York and Washington, D.C., to draw attention to New Mexico’s 50 years as a state. As a result of the trip, a permanent organization was formed: a charter as a private corporation was obtained, and the governor of New Mexico appointed the Amigos the Official Goodwill Ambassadors for New Mexico. Each year since 1962—with the exception of 1970 and 2020—the Amigos have chartered an aircraft and made trips to other states, Canada and Mexico to garner attention for the state of New Mexico.

Michelle Lujan Grisham, Governor of New Mexico (pictured), made her first Goodwill Flight in 2019 and accompanied the Amigos as a guest of the organization. In each city, arrangements were made for the Amigos to visit and exchange ideas with large groups of the cities’ prominent citizens. At luncheons and receptions, Governor Lujan Grisham addressed the local groups, and, in turn, the local governors and other leaders addressed the Amigos.

NEW MEXICO – LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

New Mexico is the fifth largest state in area and 36th in population, with 2,095,428 citizens (2018 Census). Geographically, it is bisected by the Rio Grande River and the Rocky Mountains and is on the continental divide with a mean altitude of over a mile (5,700 feet). Navigationally, it is crisscrossed by rail and three interstates, including I-40, the successor to the fabled Route 66. New Mexico is part of the Four Corners, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado all join at right angles. The state is also bordered on the east by Oklahoma and Texas and on the south by Texas and Mexico. Santa Fe, founded in 1609, is the capital, and Albuquerque is the largest city with a population of 558,000.

Photograph courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department 2017

The national government invests heavily in New Mexico with three Air Force bases, the White Sands Missile Range, NASA test facilities, observatories and the renowned research facilities of the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Numerous private manufacturing, support and research companies have developed as a result of this and combined, they account for approximately 25% of jobs in New Mexico.

Vast and beautiful state and federal lands and parks—as well as recreational opportunities and natural wonders such as Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Monument—contribute to the visitor lure of the state. Native American culture, arts, history and unique pueblos add to the interest. Santa Fe, with its art and cultural attractions and scenic enticement, is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the country.

Natural resources contribute significantly to the state’s economy with petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium ore, manganese ore, potash, salt, perlite, copper, beryllium and tin concentrates. Silver and turquoise from New Mexico have been used in making jewelry since long before European exploration.

High-technology manufacturing is increasingly important, much of it in the defense industry. Intel has a major facility here. High-tech commercial aviation is growing in the state, which is also host to the X-Prize competition. Funding has been approved for the world’s first commercial spaceport and private space flight facility. The film and television industries are taking advantage of the scenic beauty, trained workforce and tax incentives enjoyed by many small businesses.

The legislature is part-time and has a senate of 42 members and a House of Representatives with 70 members. The governor is elected for four years and can only serve two terms. The state elects two U.S. Senators and three Representatives and has five electoral votes. Republican Susana Martinez was elected to a second consecutive term in 2014. Martinez was New Mexico’s first woman elected as governor and the nation’s first Latina governor. Cabinet positions include the Secretary of Children, Youth & Families, Secretary of Environment, Secretary of Economic Development, Secretary of Tourism and Secretary of Education.

The national government invests heavily in New Mexico with three Air Force bases, the White Sands Missile Range, NASA test facilities, observatories and the renowned research facilities of the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Numerous private manufacturing, support, and research companies have developed in conjunction with this and combined they account for approximately 25% of New Mexico jobs.

Vast and beautiful state and federal lands and parks, as well as recreational opportunities and natural wonders such as Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National monument contribute to the visitor lure of the state. Native American culture, arts, history and unique pueblos add to the interest. Santa Fe, with its art and cultural attractions and scenic enticement, is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the country.

Natural resources contribute significantly to the state’s economy with petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium ore, manganese ore, potash, salt, perlite, copper, beryllium, and tin concentrates. Silver and turquoise have been used in making jewelry since long before European exploration.

High-technology manufacturing is increasingly important, much of it in the defense industry. Intel has a major facility here. High tech commercial aviation is growing in the state which is also host to the X-Prize competition and funding has been approved for the world’s first commercial spaceport and private space flight facility. Movie makers and television are taking advantage of the scenic beauty, trained work force and tax incentives enjoyed by many small businesses.

The legislature is part-time and has a senate of 42 members and a house of representatives with 70 members. The Governor is elected for four years and can only serve 2 terms. The state elects two U.S. Senators and three Representatives and has five electoral votes. Republican Susana Martinez was elected to a second consecutive term in 2014. Susana Martinez is New Mexico’s first woman elected as Governor, and is also the nation’s first Latina Governor. Cabinet positions include the Secretary of Children Youth & Families, Secretary of Environment, Secretary of Economic Development, Secretary of Tourism and Secretary of Education.

Photograph courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department 2017