Latino social services group to manage Regional LANL Coalition

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Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard’s husband to be executive director

By Tris DeRoma

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities voted unanimously Friday to make CPLCNM New Mexico the next contractor to manage the activities of the coalition, and hired Eric Vasquez as the coalition’s next executive director. 


CPLCNM stands for Chicanos Por La Causa, which is affiliated with an Arizona social services organization that provides health and human services, housing, education and economic development to underserved  and oppressed Latinos.

Vasquez was born in northern New Mexico and lived in the region for most of his life. He is on the board of the Española Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Alamos Family YMCA. 

He is also married to state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43). 

Vasquez said he is looking forward to his new role at CPLCNM and helping the coalition continue being a representative and lobbying arm of communities in northern New Mexico who are neighbors to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

“CPLCNM has a long history of promoting sustainable growth in northern New Mexico communities, and the RCLC is vital for continuing to that in coordinating efforts around issues related to LANL,” Vasquez said. “There’s been a lot of great work done in the RCLC and we look forward to helping to continue the advocacy to make our communities prosperous and safe.”

Vasquez is also publisher of the Valley Daily Post, an affiliate of the Los Alamos Daily Post and program manager of the Regional Economic Development Initiative. 

Vasquez is also listed with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office as a partner with Carol Clark in the Daily Post Media Group, Inc., and listed as a director.

Vasquez, aware that his paper and The Valley Daily Post, regularly reports on the regional coalition said they will work on a plan to avoid conflict-of-interest issues. 

“We are still figuring out what that will be, but I will not be doing day-to-day operations,” Vasquez said. 

He also noted that it was CPLCNM that was awarded the contract, and not him. 

“Primarily, what we need to remember, is that this a contract rewarded to CPLCNM,” Vasquez said. “CPLCNM hired me based on my experience.”

CPLCNM was one of three candidates the regional coalition was considering for job. CPLCNM President and CEO Roger Gonzales said the coalition picked  CPLCNM because of the services it could provide the coalition. 

“When you look at the comprehensive portfolio of services we provide, a lot of those services and the advocacy we do among the communities are almost in complete alignment,” he said. 

CPLCNM was founded in 1969 in Arizona to “confront oppression facing Latinos in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the movement led by Cesar Chavez, who undertook a fast at our original headquarters,” a statement on the CPLCNM website read. 

The organization today also has headquarters in Nevada and New Mexico. In New Mexico, CPLCNM is located in Santa Fe. The organization provides services in health and human services, housing, education and economic development to communities in the states it’s headquartered. 

The first mission he said the CPLCNM will take on is making sure the nine northern New Mexico communities and pueblos in the coalition are well represented in talks about community commitment with the lab’s new contractor, Triad National Security.

Gonzales said he and his organization are well aware of northern New Mexico’s concerns surrounding the possible absence of millions of dollars of gross receipts tax funding to the region, since New Mexico tax laws offer gross receipt tax exemptions to non-profits. Triad National Security is made up of two universities and the Battelle Memorial Institute, all non-profit institutions. Lab Director-Designee Thomas Mason said in an interview with the Los Alamos Monitor that Triad is still working out the details concerning file status. 

“That’s going to impact a lot of the infrastructure needs, not only of Los Alamos proper but for all of the region,” Gonzales said. “So, we really want to make sure that the community is there in full force, represented in every conversation, because we have a responsibility to our citizens to ensure that the transition is smooth and the investments are there.” 

According to the contract, member governments that make up the nine entities of the coalition will pay an annual amount collectively to CPLCNM not to exceed $169,288. The amount does not include applicable gross receipts tax. 

The former executive director, Andrea Romero and her company, received $140,000 a year for her services, per her contract. 

CPLCNM must also give itemized invoices to the regional coalition treasurer detailing monthly compensation, the amount of any gross receipts tax, task allocation and compensation that is covered by Department of Energy grant funding and costs that are not covered.

RCLC Chairman Henry Roybal said he is confident CPLCNM is going to do a good job representing the coalition.

“I think they are going to be instrumental in bringing not only the board but Triad together and work in the direction we need to represent the constituents and concerns,” Roybal said.