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, eighty-five 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 fifty years as a State. As a result of the trip, a permanent organization was formed, a charter as a private corporation obtained and the Governor of New Mexico appointed the Amigos the Official Goodwill Ambassadors for New Mexico. Each year since 1962, except for 1970, the Amigos have chartered an aircraft and made trips to other states, Canada and Mexico to focus attention on New Mexico.

Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Governor of New Mexico (pictured), will make her first Goodwill flight in 2019 and accompany the Amigos as a guest of the organization. In each city, arrangements are made for the Amigos to visit and exchange ideas with large groups of the city’s prominent citizens. At luncheons and receptions the Governor of New Mexico addresses the local groups and, in turn, the local Governor and other leaders address 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, the Rocky Mountains and is on the continental divide with a mean altitude over a mile (5,700 feet). Economically 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 1609) is the Capital and Albuquerque is the largest city (558,000).

Photograph courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department 2017

ECONOMY:

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.

Photograph courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department 2017

TOURISM:

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:

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.

Photograph courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department 2017

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE:

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.

GOVERNMENT:

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.