MRGWA’s Past President Joins New Mexico First

On April 5, 2021, New Mexico First announced that MRGWA’s past President, Theresa Cardenas, will now be serving as the Strategic Civic Engagement and Policy Manager for New Mexico First. We appreciate her years of service and guidance with the Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates and wish her well in her new and surely challenging endeavor.

Hello New Mexico First Friends,

Our team had the pleasure of working together to interview a pool of qualified candidates for the Strategic Civic Engagement and Policy Manager position. There were many talented people with a strong understanding of policy and a heart for service. Theresa Cardenas stood out among applicants for the position. Her content knowledge, coalition building experience, policy savvy, and deep and abiding understanding and respect for New Mexico were among her gifts that rose to the top during our interview. Prior to her work in natural resources policy, Theresa has also been an entrepreneur, home builder, and social worker. At the heart of it, her gift with people is evident. She’s also been involved in NMF town halls in the past and most recently participated as a volunteer task force member for a natural resources project we facilitated for the City of Albuquerque.

We are so happy to welcome Theresa!

Please see a greeting from her and a photo and bio sketch for your reference.

My best,

Lilly  Saludos,

My name is Theresa Cardenas. I consider myself a homegrown Nuevo Mexicano with family roots dating back to the original ranching and farming families who settled Northern New Mexico. I have a combined background in business, having spent 15 years in the built environment as a custom home builder, and another 7 years as an advocate for the environment representing the Union of Concerned Scientists, working in community by bringing people together to help shape policy using sound science and analysis.


Theresa Cardenas, Masters of Sustainability
New Mexico First, Senior Strategic Civic Engagement and Policy Manager for Natural Resources and Agricultural Resilience   Here is Theresa’s Bio Sketch and a photo:   Theresa Cardenas has dedicated her life and career to improving the environment and advocating for environmental equity and justice for her community. She used diplomacy, consensus building and analysis to work successfully in coalitions on policy action at the local, state, and national level. Her work, in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists, as an outreach climate and energy consultant, moved the New Mexico legislature to establish the Energy Transition Act to transition away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

Her work around water equity has brought awareness and action for a sustainable, resilient water future for New Mexico communities by demanding equitable and effective water management, practices and planning consistent with the best available science and applicable laws. Also notable is her work with a rural family-owned public utility to improve water quality and quantity for low-income and disenfranchised communities.

Theresa is a 2013 fellow at the National Hispanic Leadership Institute in Washington DC, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and a Masters of Sustainability degree from Arizona State University with a concentration in water resources.