I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, a city renowned as the “Home of Heroes” due to being the hometown of four “Congressional Medal of Honor” recipients. Growing up in such a community deeply influenced my decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school. During my time in the Air Force, I served as a dental technician while pursuing college courses in the evenings.
After completing my term of enlistment, I chose to transition to the reserves and pursue full-time education. I enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where I earned a B.S. in Biochemistry. Concurrently, I participated in the Air Force ROTC program, ultimately earning a commission to return to active duty as an Air Force Officer. Throughout my service, I held various roles including Acquisitions Officer (Program Manager) and Chemist, contributing to satellite programs, weapon systems, nuclear deterrence, and security cooperation efforts. My Air Force career concluded with my retirement at Kirtland AFB in 2018, after more than 20 years of honorable service.
Beyond my military career, I dedicated myself to leadership and volunteer positions in numerous non-profit organizations, both locally and regionally. Continuing my education, I obtained an MA in Operational Leadership from the Air Force’s Air Command & Staff College, an MS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Florida, and most recently, an Executive MBA from UNM.
In 2020, I ventured into politics and was elected to the New Mexico Legislature. It is with immense pride that I became the first African American ever elected to the New Mexico Senate. Since assuming office, I've served as the Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee, a member of the Senate Conservation Committee, and Co-Chair of the Interim Military & Veterans Affairs Committee. I've successfully passed numerous bills, including those benefiting veterans and military families, advocating for the ban on hair discrimination (Crown Act), and promoting police reform. Additionally, I've been a vocal advocate for legislation focused on education, civil rights, and environmental conservation.
In the fall of 2022, I was honored to be elected by my colleagues into a leadership position, becoming the Majority Caucus Chair.