Legislators Engage: Collaborating with Social Activists to Explore Policy Needs for Women

CSW Women’s Summit 2023 | bear conference room 1:45 PM – 2:45 pm

In an atmosphere of constructive dialogue and shared purpose, legislators engage in a panel discussion, providing answers to the questions posed by a panel of social activists seeking guidance on uniting policy and advocacy efforts to empower positive change in New Mexico.


Moderator: Lan Sena
Lan Sena, Policy Director, The Center for Civic Policy

Lan Sena was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees that settled in Albuquerque in 1975 and 1981. She received her Baccalaureate degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Health Administration from the School of Public Administration at the University of New Mexico.

Lan Sena Headshot


Speaker of the House, Javier Martinez, New Mexico State Legislature

Javier Martínez is the New Mexico State Representative from District 11. He serves as the House Majority Floor Leader and as a member of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee and the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. During the interim session, Javier serves on the Legislative Finance Committee and the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee. Since his election in 2014, Javier has been a leader on government transparency, early childhood education, equitable tax reform, and renewable energy.

Javier has been a tireless advocate for New Mexico’s communities for over a decade. He serves as Executive Director of the Partnership for Community Action, a community-based organization that works to build healthy communities. Javier’s career started in 2000 as a community organizer in Albuquerque’s historic Barelas, Wells Park, and Sawmill neighborhoods. As an organizer, Javier developed a reputation for being highly effective as a consensus builder, a tough negotiator, and an advocate for working families.

Rep. Javier Martinez headshot

Representative Kristina Ortez, New Mexico State Legislature

Kristina Ortez is the Executive Director of the Taos Land Trust. She grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California in a small farming town and moved to New Mexico in 2008. She lives in Taos where she is raising her two daughters. Kristina graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Anthropology and completed her Masters of Public Administration at the University of New Mexico. Kristina has dedicated her professional career to the preservation of public lands and ensuring clean water for rural communities. Kristina also serves a New Mexico State Representative representing Taos County and is the chair of the House Rural Development, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Senator Linda M. Lopez, New Mexico State Legislature

Senator Linda M. Lopez was elected to serve in the NM State Senate in 1996 representing District 11 in Southwest Bernalillo County.  She is a member of the Judiciary Committee and Co-Chair of the Interim Legislative Ethics Committee.  She served as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee from 2002-2020. She served as NM Senate Majority Whip 2021-2022. She served as Chair of the Bernalillo County Democratic Party from 2003-2005.  Senator Lopez earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the College of Santa Fe, followed in 1992 with an MBA.  She has sponsored anti-racism, equal pay for equal work, funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs, and many other family friendly legislation. Sen. Lopez serves as an Advisory Board member to Hopeworks and also serves as a Commissioner to the Office of Family Representation.  She recently received the first Annual Legacy Award of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Sen. Lopez is a native New Mexican.  She is a single parent, has a 22-year old son, Lorenzo and is guardian to 11-year old Cherish Rose. 

Senator Shannon D. Pinto, New Mexico State Legislature

Shannon D. Pinto is an American politician serving as a member of the New Mexico Senate. A member of the Democratic Party, Pinto represents the 3rd district, which includes Shiprock, New Mexico and part of Navajo Nation.

A member of Navajo Nation, Pinto was born and raised in Tohatchi, New Mexico. She earned an Associate’s degree in Business from the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico.

Terrelene Massey, Executive Director, The Southwest Women’s Law Center

Terrelene holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Terrelene most recently served as the Executive Director of the Navajo Division of Social Services. She was appointed by the President of the Navajo Nation and confirmed by the Navajo Nation Council. She served in this capacity from May 2015 to January 2019. Prior to her appointment with the Navajo Nation, Terrelene was employed as an attorney at Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan, LLP, in Albuquerque. She also served as a staff attorney at New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc., where she provided legal services to low-income clients regarding federal Indian law, family law, and tribal law matters.

Kayla Herring, Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains

Kayla Herring (she/her) was born and raised in Albuquerque where she went to the University of New Mexico for Cultural Anthropology and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Kayla volunteered as a patient advocate with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains before transitioning to a community organizer role. Six years later, Kayla is Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ New Mexico Public Affairs Director continuing her work to ensure all people can make their own personal medical decisions, without government interference, through organizing, policy, and electoral work. She lives in Albuquerque with her partner, Ayisha, and pitbull Sprout.

Kayla Hering Headshot