Staying Competitive in the 21st Century
Senator Michael Padilla is a member of the New Mexico State Senate, representing District 14 since January 2013. Senator Padilla was elected to leadership in his second year in office, as the Senate Majority Whip, a position he was reelected to, and held for three years, serves on nine legislative committees, including as the chairman of the science, technology, and telecommunications committee.
Padilla’s primary focus as a legislator is to eliminate wide spread poverty that affects most of his state.
Bringing a positive and high energy approach to his role as a state senator, Padilla was the first senator to move a bill through the legislature in his first, second, and fifth years as a senator. Padilla has successfully passed multiple pieces of legislation to improve job creation and economic development, early childhood education, access to high-speed broadband Internet, child food security, child protective services, and education reform and funding. Some of his most impactful legislation includes:
Padilla was the 2017 sponsor of the first in the nation landmark legislation called the Hunger Free Students’ Bill of Rights, receiving positive attention across the globe, and which has now been introduced in 37 state legislatures and the United States Congress. He believes that taking a child’s focus off of their stomach and placing it on theirs studies will help close the achievement gap and improve the child’s social and emotional development for the rest of their lives.
Padilla worked for nine years to improve early childhood education across New Mexico and in 2019 was successful in creating the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department, a cabinet level agency focused on all birth to five services across state government and making his state a pioneer in providing high quality early education and care services birth to age five, which he believes will improve graduation rates and provide a world class workforce.
Padilla has brought attention to the child protective services crisis in New Mexico since he became a state senator, by successfully enacting legislation to dramatically expand the number of high quality foster homes available to children in protective services, and to extend optional fostering to the age of twenty-one providing a ramp into adulthood for vulnerable young adults transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood.
Padilla has been able to reform many information technology, high speed broadband Internet, and new technology related polices. In doing so, he has worked to bring job creation and economic development, telemedicine, and distance learning opportunities to some of the most rural parts of New Mexico. He has successfully reformed the New Mexico Local Infrastructure Act to include broadband Internet, reformed the New Mexico Universal Service Fund to focus state dollars on new technologies and modernized the New Mexico Telecommunications Act, which had not been updated since before the Internet was widely utilized, and has made New Mexico an attractive state for technology investment funding. In 2021 he brought a bi-partisan group of legislators together from both legislative chambers to create the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion, which has six primary functions and will help New Mexico be a leader in this critical area.
Padilla grew up in Los Padillas, a rural farming community that his family helped settle over 150 years ago and is located inside of the district he represents. Padilla has always been involved in the Democratic Party of New Mexico, serving as a precinct chairman, ward chairman, county central committee member and state central committee member. He has also served on numerous boards and commissions prior to becoming a senator, including Youth Development Incorporated, Special Olympics New Mexico, Junior Achievement of New Mexico, Association of Commerce and Industry of New Mexico, the New Mexico State Workforce Development Board, and several others.
Padilla founded Altivus CRM Solutions, a contact center and consulting firm, in 2000, and grew the company organically to a peak of 3,600 full-time employees. The company specializes in building contact centers and providing a number of operational consulting services affecting people, process, and technology. Padilla still serves as Chairman and CEO of the company.
Padilla is the youngest of five children. His parents were unable to raise him and his siblings, so they grew up in foster homes across New Mexico, the All Faiths Receiving Home for Homeless Children, and with various family members. Padilla started working when he was eleven years old and is proud of the way he was raised. Padilla has twin sons, Aaron and Zach, both of whom have earned master’s degrees in social sciences. Padilla has always attributed his sons’ successes to a focus on early childhood education and hard work.