On the UNM Board of Regents, 1998-2003, A Case Study

Back as a student at UNM, I did much research on the Board of Regents, the governing body of the university. As they were the main source of authority on the campus, they were a natural target.

A thesis that myself and others created was that the Regents were from the power elite of the state, in influential positions of law, business, and politics. As they were appointed by the governor, with no democratic influence, they were often more than not campaign contributors to his campaign. And no knowledge of higher education was needed to qualify to be a regent.

The law on the board of regents states that there can only be so many members of one political party on each board, to not overly bias the board. But no matter who is appointed, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, they all come from elite backgrounds, and have a pro-business ideology.

Here is the results of this research, and it more or less proves my thesis. The sources here will be listed, and the sources for the campaign contributions are from public sources, compiled by the Federal Election Commission and by the website www.followthemoney.org, a project of the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

In 1997, Gov. Johnson appointed David A. Archuleta, Richard Toliver, and student Regent Kimberly Richards, a law student. Remaining on the Board were Larry Willard as President, Barbara Brazil as Vice President, Mary Tang as Secretary Treasurer, and member at large Penny Taylor Rembe. Here are profiles of the new regents:

Larry Willard

I have done a five-part article on Larry Willard on here, and would refer readers to those articles to get more information on him. In terms of campaign contributions, he and the banks he runs is mostly Republican leaning, but they go where the political winds take them. As mentioned earlier, Willard was a major backer of Governor Bill Richardson.

Gave a total of $6075 to Gary Johnson’s campaign in 1998 personally. Through Norwest Bank and its PAC’s, they contributed an additional $6,250.00. Also, Willard contributed $600.00 in soft money to the Republican Campaign Committee.

Individual contributions to Gary Johnson, 1998:

$75.00, 11/12/1997

$1000.00, 11/17/1998

$2000.00, 5/01/1998

$3000.00, 8/28/1998

Contributions to Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico:

$200.00, 1/28/1999

$200.00, 4/07/1999

$200.00, 10/07/1999

Norwest Bank contributions to Gary Johnson, 1998:

$2000.00, 6/23/1997

$250.00, 10/08/1998

$2000.00, 7/03/1998

$2000.00, 9/11/1998

Other contributions:

Heather Wilson for Congress:

$500.00, 4/20/1998

$250.00, 9/29/2000

George W. Bush for President

$1000.00, 4/27/1999

Bill Richardson for Governor:

$1000.00, 12/31/2001

$1000.00, 5/19/2002

$500.00, 1/11/2002

Sources: http://www.followthemoney.org; “Campaign Contributions.” Albuquerque Tribune. October 23, 1998; “Campaign Contributions.” Albuquerque Tribune. October 29, 1998.

Barbara Brazil

A regent appointed by Gov. Bruce King in 1993, who became the Secretary/Treasurer of the Board. Also a former public affairs manager for Intel at the same time, who had a major processing plant in nearby Rio Rancho and had many interests at UNM. Brazil was quoted as saying that unions are not necessary the university faculty and staff because “I don’t think you get the best results from third-party adversarial negotiations” and assumes that faculty and staff will get fair compensation due to an “enlightened management.” (Daily Lobo, September 11, 1998).

Penny Rembe

Appointed by Gov. Bruce King in 1993. Rembe is described in an article on the richest people in New Mexico for Crosswinds, an alternative New Mexico weekly newspaper: “This gracious woman is: president of the UNM Board of Regents, businesswoman, doctor’s wife, bank director (Norwest), rancher and heiress whose late financier/oilman/cattle ranching father was known around her native Amarillo as “Mr. Beef.” During college in 1960 she herself was chosen “Duchess of Amarillo” to represent the city at a Texas festival. Worth $25 million? “That’s pretty funny,” she says cryptically.”                     (http://www.williampbarrett.com/CrossRich/index_files/Page321.htm)

The records on followthemoney.org do not go back that far to trace any donations to Bruce King, but she has been a top Democratic Party contributor. She was once quoted as saying about the UNM president’s salary that “to them (students), $100,000 is a lot of money. But in the business world, it really isn’t that much.” (Daily Lobo, September 4, 1998). Rembe also voiced support for further privatization of campus services.

David Archuleta

Appointed by Gary Johnson in 1997. An Albuquerque lawyer and a major contributor to the Republican Party.

Archuleta gave $4000.00 to the campaign for Gary Johnson between 1997 and 1998. He also gave a total of $2030.00 to the Republican Campaign Committe of New Mexico between 1994 and 2001, basically soft money. Johnson won the nomination, and later appointed Archuleta to the UNM Board of Regents.

Archuleta has been heavily involved in Republican Party politics. Along with supporting Johnson, he also gave the following:

$2199 to campaign of Steve Schiff in the 1st Congressional District between 1993 to 1995

$1500 to People for Pete Domenici for Senate between 1993 to 1995

$250 to the campaign of Colin McMillan for Senate in 1994

$1000 to Bob Dole for President in 1995

$1000 to the Republican National Committee in 1996

$2000 to Heather Wilson for Congress between 1998 and 1999

$1000 to George W. Bush for President in 1999

$250 to Bill Redmond in the 3rd Congressional District in 2000

Archuleta also was a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention for all of his activities for the party. He was also a former manager for the campaigns of Sen. Pete Domenici and Gov. Gary Johnson. (“New Mexico’s Delegates.” Albuquerque Tribune. August 12, 1996. p. D1.

Archuleta was quoted in the Daily Lobo as recommending the appointment of Regents of “people with backgrounds in finance, law, banking, real estate and insurance…” adding that backgrounds in business are important to serve on these boards (Daily Lobo, February 11, 1997).

Richard Toliver

A right wing political organizer. A former Air Force Colonel and pilot. The former regional director of the New Mexico state chapter of Ross Perot’s United We Stand America organization, which later morphed into the short-lived Reform Party on the national stage.

Gary Johnson appointed Toliver to the Board of Regents in 1997. The Albuquerque Journal stated that Toliver said “that United We Stand America played a key role in the election of Gov. Gary Johnson, a card-carrying member whose main issues are all things the Perot-inspired citizen group is fighting for. (Calloway, Larry. “United We Stand, and Also Green.” Albuquerque Journal. October 29, 1995. P. B14)

Toliver also was the executive director of New Mexico Electric SWITCH, an organization who wanted to end electricity utility monopolies across the state to supposedly bring more competition in electricity access. (“People on the Move.” Albuquerque Tribune. July 03, 1997. Business, pg. E2).

Along with the Board of Regents, Johnson also appointed Toliver to the New Mexico Public Safety Advisory Commission, and he also served on the Board of Directors of the Kirtland Partnership Committee. (http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/content.php?id=226).

Toliver is not on record of contributing to Gary Johnson’s campaign monetarily. He does have a record of giving $225 to far right Republican Bill Redmond’s campaign in 1998 for the seat in the 3rd Congressional District, aligning with his political views.

At this time the regents were composed of 4 business people, one of them a bank president, a lawyer, and a national laboratories representative.


In 1998 Gov. Johnson appointed four new regents, Judith Herrera, Jack Fortner, student regent Jason Bousilman, and reappointed Larry Willard. Here are a profile of the two non-student regents:

Judith Herrera

Appointed by Gary Johnson in 1997. A lawyer with the Herrera, Long and Pound law firm in Santa Fe. After getting her law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1979, Herrera moved to Santa Fe and started practicing law thay year. Herrera was also a Santa Fe city councilor from 1981 to 1986. Also served on the Board of Trustees for St. Vincent Hospital (“St. Vincent Hospital Board of Trustees.” Santa Fe New Mexican. June 13, 1999. p. A7.)

$1000 to Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico, 04/05/2001.

Jack Fortner

Appointed by Gary Johnson in 1999, and still serving on the Board in 2015 after being reappointed by two other governors. Fortner is currently president of the Board of Regents of UNM, after being the first regent to be appointed by three governors to three consecutive terms.

Fortner is a lawyer from his home town of Farmington with the firm Fortner & Curnutt LLC. He obtained his Bachelors Degree at UNM in 1978, his law degree from University of Michigan in 1981. Fortner also serves as chairman of the San Juan County Commission.                                      (https://www.sjcounty.net/departments/electedoffices/commisioners/district-iv).

He was also a big campaign contributor and a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention. (Lozano, Juan A. “3 New Mexico members Join UNM Regents.” Albuquerque Journal. January 25, 1999. p. B8.)

10/30/1998, $1000 to Gary Johnson

5/6/1996, $500 to People for Pete Domenici

Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico

$250.00, 2/11/1993

$280.00, 1/08/2001

New Mexicans for Bill Redmond

2/21/1998, $500.00

10/27/1998, $1000.00

$1000 to Bush for President on 2/29/2000

In 2001 Gov. Johnson appointed Sandra Begay-Campbell to replace outgoing regent Mary Tang.

Sandra Begay Campbell

Appointed by Gary Johnson in 2001 to replace Mary Tang, the representative of Sandia Labs. As a UNM tradition, the Board of Regents has a representative of one of the states two national Laboratories. In turn, Mary Tang replaced Sig Hecker of Los Alamos.

Begay-Campbell, a Native American from Gallup, was a civil engineer on the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. Her career has had access to all the national nuclear laboratories. In 1987 Begay-Campbell received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at UNM. She worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in California while pursuing her Masters in Structural Engineering at Stanford University. She worked at Los Alamos Laboratories before working at Sandia. (UNM Public Affairs. “New Regent Begay-Campbell to be guest on UNM Voices.” http://www.unm.edu/~paaffair/Releases/Jan10voices.htm [accessed July 22, 2001]), (www.nae.edu/nae/cwe/egdir.nsf).

After her term as regent was up, Begay-Campbell was nominated to be president of STC.UNM, formerly Science and Technology Corporation, the technology transfer company set up by UNM. (http://soe.unm.edu/latest/july-dec11/sandra-begay-campbell-nominated.html)

As of 2001, the 6 non-student Regents were composed of 3 lawyers, 2 business persons, and 1 National Laboratory representative.


In 2003, incoming Gov. Bill Richardson appointed 4 new regents to the UNM Board. A new political party, but more of the same. The nominees were James H. Koch, Donald Salazar, Maria Griego-Raby, and student regent Andrea Cook, pursuing a MBA at UNM.

James Koch

Koch is from Santa Fe, a UNM graduate, and served on the Alumni Association and board of directors of the Lobo Club. He is the outgoing chairman of the state Democratic Party. He is also president of Daniels Insurance in Santa Fe.

As Chairman of the Democratic Party, Koch supported keeping the Greens and other third parties off the ballots by giving them more restrictive rules. He thought the then 5 percent threshold for candidates to be considered major parties was too low. (Holmes, Sue Major. “Green Party Apparently Regains Major Party Status.” Farmington Daily Times. November 8, 2002.)

Koch contributed a total of $6,966 to Richardson’s campaign in 2002.

In 2003 Koch also became director of Richardson’s political organization for the next years election, called Moving America Forward, based in Albuquerque. (Strope, Leigh. “Dems Form Group to Recruit Minorities – Richardson to Head Effort Among Hispanics and American Indians.” Hispanic Vista. http://www.hispanicvista.com/html3/050503kp.htm (accessed May 9, 2003).

Maria Griego-Raby

Griego-Raby is from Albuquerque, and was president of Contract Associates Inc., a commercial and office furniture company with offices throughout New Mexico. She is also past president of the UNM Alumni Association, having earner her MBA from UNM in 1986. She was named to the Hispanic Business Top 500 List and received the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Maxie Anderson Small Business Award in 2002. She was also on the Clinical Operation Board of the UNM Health Sciences Center, served on the Anderson School of Management Foundation, and served on the board of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Her contributions on record are $100 to Richardson’s Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish in 2002.

Griego-Raby also gave in 2002 the following: $250 to People for Pete Domeneci, and $250 to Richard Romero for Congress.

Donald Salazar

A lawyer with the law firm Rubin, Katz, Salazar, Alley, Rouse & Herdman in Santa Fe. He earned a law degree at UC Berkeley in 1972, then was a law clerk with the New Mexico Supreme Court. Salazar was the president of the 1st Judicial District Bar Association. Salazar was on the board of directors of El Rancho de las Golondrinas Museum, Santa Fe Fiesta Foundation, First National Bank of Santa Fe, and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. (Akers, Joshua. “Recently Appointed UNM Regent ‘Touched Lives.’” Albuquerque Journal. March 30, 2003. Obituary section)

Salazar was in turn a large contributor to Democratic Party Candidates. He contributed $9,695 to Bill Richardson’s campaign, and up to $6050 more to other Democratic candidates races and the Party itself between 1998 and 2002.

Salazar passed away on March 28, 2003 of thyroid cancer. (Simoni, Arthur. “UNM Regent Dies of Cancer.” Daily Lobo (UNM). April 1, 2003. p. 1)

Mel Eaves

John “Mel” Eaves was appointed by Richardson in April 2003 to replace Donald Salazar. (press release. “Gov. Bill Richardson Names New UNM Regent.” www.unm.edu/Releases/03-04-03eaves.htm. April 3, 2003. [Accessed May 9, 2003]). Eaves got his law degree from UNM School of Law, where he served on the staff of the Natural Resources Journal, and was managing editor of the New Mexico Law Review. Eaves served as president and shareholder of the Eaves, Bardacke, Baugh, Kierst & Kiernan law firm of Albuquerque. Eaves has been admitted to practice in front of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and a former New Mexico House of Representatives member, and former member of the New Mexico Board of Educational Fiance and Commission of Post-Secondary Education. Other UNM connections include his membership on the Board of Directors of the UNM Schools of Law Alumni Association, and member of UNM Foundation President’s Club and UNM Lobo Club.

Eaves and his law firm are also big contributors to Bill Richardson gubernatorial campaign and the Democratic Party. Eaves himself gave a total of $10,810.00 to Richardson’s 2002 campaign, and Eaves, Bardacke, Baugh, Kierst & Kierman gave $1000.00 to the Democratic Party of New Mexico that same year. Eaves has given thousands of dollars more to other Democratic candidates and the party itself.


As seen here in this case study, the UNM Board of Regents in this period were overwhelmingly made up of wealthy lawyers and business people. The great majority of them are heavily connected with the political party whos governor is in power at the moment. All have large connections with the political elite in the state, if not part of them themselves.

This is typical of other state universities where boards of trustees are appointed by the governor, without any democratic input. In Wisconsin one year, student activists did a “Buy a Regent” campaign to illustrate the connections to campaign contributors to regent appointees by the governor of that state.

In this time we pushed for a democratically elected board of regents at our university. I do not believe now that it would be a dramatic difference in the present structure, but at least it would give a more accountable structure to the university system whos decisions affect thousands of people. La lucha sigue.


About elloborojo

Okay, as the subtitle states, this is a notebook from what I call a New Mexico diaspora (look up diaspora if you are asking). I was a former resident of New Mexico, now living elsewhere, but New Mexico is still my homeland. To get more in touch with your homeland one must be away from it. This is my attempt to understand it. I was a former anti-militarism activist in the Albuquerque area. Still believe that United Snakes militarism is the greatest threat to the world, as do the majority of the worlds population. Uncovered much information about the ties in New Mexico, but never processed it all. This blog is an attempt to do that. Also hope it may come of use to others with similar interests.
This entry was posted in Universities, University of New Mexico. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On the UNM Board of Regents, 1998-2003, A Case Study

  1. Pingback: Campaign Contribution from the UNM Board of Regents to Gov. Susana Martinez | El Lobo Rojo: Notes From A New Mexico Diaspora

  2. Pingback: The Problems and Politics of Governance in State Universities: A Look at the Boards of Regents – Who Runs the Universities | El Lobo Rojo: Notes From A New Mexico Diaspora

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