Sen. Dede Feldman, New Mexico Senate District 13
Dede Feldman has had a varied career as a journalist, high school and university teacher, and the owner of a small public relations business. As a State Senator from District 13 in Albuquerque's North Valley since 1997, Dede Feldman has already had a big impact on the lives of women, children and people struggling to make ends meet. She is the sponsor of several successful initiatives including the “Graduated Drivers License” system for teens, a mastectomy bill that mandates insurance companies cover a minimum 48 hr. hospital stay, as well as the creation of a Brain Injury Services Fund that provides much needed services to people with head injuries. She also sponsored the “Do Not Call” bill
in 2003 prohibiting unwanted telephone solicitations, an ATV safety bill in 2005
and the state's Senior Prescription Drug Discount program (2002).
She currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Co- Chair of the Interim Health and Human Services Committee where she is focusing on improving access to quality health care for New Mexicans without insurance and reducing the high cost of prescription drugs. A longtime environmentalist, Feldman has sponsored many bills to preserve the bosque and conserve water, including the statewide water plan, and a landmark groundwater protection bill passed in 1999.
Dede has introduced legislation to reform campaign financing every year she has been in the legislature finally winning approval for public financing of the Public Regulation Commission in 2004, and limitations on campaign contributions in 2009.
Senate Public Affairs Committee—Chair
Senate Rules Committee
Interim Health and Human Services—Co-Chair
Interim Water and Natural Resources Committee
Tobacco Settlement Committee
Election Reform Task Force
- From 2003-2005 Feldman was awarded the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce's Leader Award for both her health care and water legislation
- In 2004 she received the Carl Souder Water Protection Award from the NM Environmental Law Center for her defense of water resources.
- In 2004 she received the Pillar Award from First Choice Community Health Clinics for her work to expand access to health care and reduce the cost of prescription drugs
- In 2004 the NM Section of the American Planning Association named her Citizen Planner of the Year
- In 2000 Feldman, the owner of a public relations company as well as a citizen legislator, won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America for her work on the Graduated Drivers License campaign
- In 1999 Feldman was selected by the DC-based Center for Policy Alternatives as a Flemming Fellow, one of 38 progressive state legislators chosen nationwide for their ability to build bridges across party lines and advance a values-based agenda.
- Feldman was the New Mexico Pediatric Society's Child Advocate of the Year in 2000 and the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministries Legislator of the Year in 1998.
- Feldman was presented with the New Mexico Psychological Association's Public Service Award in the spring of 2001 and the New Mexico Primary Care Association's Appreciation Award in 1998.
- As a journalist Feldman has won over 80 state and national awards from the Press Women's Association, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the NM Press Association
Education and Personal
Feldman holds both a BA and an MA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. In one of her first efforts at grassroots community development, when Dede was a teacher, she and her husband led a group of students on a trip to Uganda in East Africa where they worked with Africans to repair and build additions to local schools. She moved to New Mexico in 1975 and lives in a solar home in the North Valley with her daughter and husband of 35 years.
- Commissioner, Western Interstate Compact on Higher Education (WICHE)
- Member, North Valley Neighborhood Coalition
- Councilor, Insure New Mexico Advisory Council
- Member, Governor's Commission on Oral Health
- Member, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government
- Former Chairwoman of the Albuquerque Citizens Advisory Group, which supervised the allocation of $3.2 million in federal community development funds (1986-88)
Albuquerque Journal Article August, 2001
What do you remember about your summer vacation? That was the classic homework assignment on the first day of school and, this summer, a call for articles from the Trends editor of the Albuquerque Journal. Here’s what I wrote in reply…
The West’s Lure Doesn't Disappoint
by Senator Dede Feldman
Sometimes life makes a full circle that can be detected only through memories of childhood. That’s my profound conclusion after discovering some old photos from a long ago summer vacation.
It was a summer-long road trip, 1955 style, powering down Rt. 66 from Chicago south and west to arrive, ironically, in Albuquerque’s North Valley, where I moved twenty years later, and which I now represent in the New Mexico Senate.
My father and mother had been talking about "The West" forever, and now that we had our brand new, two-tone 1955 Plymouth station wagon, we were ready to set off, AAA Triptik firmly in hand, from the colonial suburbs or Philadelphia for the Purple Mountains Majesty. We were determined to camp in the national parks out of the back of our stylish new wagon, and my mother brought her Bisquick and Better Homes and Gardens cookbook so we could make biscuits over the open fire.
And we did it all, traveling from Lake Michigan, where we stayed on a sailboat owned by an Air Force buddy of my father’s, to Zion, Bryce and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Me staring endlessly at the green and white woven ceiling inside the Plymouth, looking for the next Stuckey’s, and my father, a newspaper editor and a history buff, going on endlessly about Lewis and Clark, Teddy Roosevelt and the WPA.
I was constantly nagging my parents to hurry up and get to California, and barring that, to stop at every available swimming pool along the route. The best one we found was at the Casa Grande Motel near Old Town in Albuquerque. It was a Rt. 66 motor court with people so friendly that we stayed a few extra days, exploring the petroglyphs, eating this funny green stuff they called chile, and making side trips to Santa Fe and Camel Rock. I was constantly on the look out for rattlesnakes, rainbows, and other kids. We ate at the Hacienda Restaurant and my mother bought me a fringed buckskin jacket in Old Town that I wore almost every day, regardless of the weather, for almost two years afterward. Looking back now, I realize it was one of the happiest times of my childhood. And "the West" did not disappoint. The sense of exploration, adventure, the outdoors and the blue, blue sky were stuck in the back of my mind.
The Casa Grande Motel was still here when I landed unexpectedly in Albuquerque in 1975. My husband and I ate dinner in it almost every night for a whole summer while we rebuilt and solarized a small adobe house we bought only blocks away. The pool was closed and there was a drive-up window that I hadn't remembered from years before. You could tell that the Casa Grande was not so grand anymore.
In 1996, the old motel was torn down. It was the same year I was elected to represent the Old Town area in the state Senate. I will always treasure the twist of fate that brought me here, back to Route 66 and the scene of my 1955 childhood vacation. And I will always wonder whether something enchanted connected me with a community that has been my home for 26 years.