Serving in a Volunteer Legislature

Since the drafting of New Mexico’s constitution in 1910, New Mexico has had a volunteer legislature, also known as a citizen legislature. This means our 112 elected legislators do not get a salary for their work. They accept their position on a volunteer basis. New Mexico is the only state in the Union that does not pay its legislators a salary. But rather, each legislator gets a per diem of $164 for every day that they are in session or in a committee meeting outside of the session time.

In order to serve, Lawmakers step away from the jobs that earn them a living to volunteer for one to two months out of the year to be apart of the legislative session. However, the time away from their jobs and families is not limited to the session. As Senator Michael Padilla and Representative Rebecca Dow explain, being a New Mexico state legislator requires early mornings and late nights, year-round.

About Senator Michael Padilla

Senator Michael Padilla was elected in 2012 as a Democratic member of the New Mexico State Senate serving Bernalillo County. He is currently the CEO at Altivus Customer Relationship and has served in telecommunications for the past 30 years and worked for the City of Albuquerque. 

About Representative Rebecca Dow

Representative Rebecca Dow was elected to office in November 2016 as a Republican member of the New Mexico House of Representatives serving Grant, Hidalgo, and Sierra County. She is the CEO of Dow technology and provides consultation services for nonprofit and faith based early childhood providers operating in the rocky mountain region.



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