|Member of the
Santa Fe County Commission
from the 5th district
January 1, 2009
|Preceded by||Jack Sullivan|
|Member of the New Mexico Senate
from the 39th district
January 1993 – December 1996
|Succeeded by||Phil Griego|
November 9, 1950 |
|Domestic partner||Linda Siegle|
Elizabeth T. Stefanics (born November 9, 1950), known as Liz Stefanics, is an American politician from New Mexico, currently serving on the Santa Fe County Commission. A former member of the New Mexico Senate, she was the first openly LGBT member of the New Mexico legislature, serving a single four-year term that began in January 1993.
Early life and career
Stefanics was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio but moved to New Mexico to teach at the University of New Mexico. The daughter of an airplane mechanic and a secretary, she grew up in poverty but went on to earn three college degrees. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky University, before doing a masters in resource management at the University of Wisconsin and earning a doctorate in administration and law from the University of Minnesota. In addition, she has done post-doctoral work at the University of New Mexico in public administration and health care. She spent more than ten years as the executive director of Open Hands, a charity serving the elderly, disabled and poor, before which she was executive director of New Mexico AIDS Services.
In public office
In 1992, Stefanics ran for the New Mexico Senate in the 39th district, a mostly rural district covering parts of six counties in northern New Mexico. She won the seat and took office in January 1993. During her four years in the senate, she co-chaired the Health and Human Services Interim Committee.
In her race for re-election in 1996, she faced a primary challenge from Phil Griego, a former member of Santa Fe City Council. She lost the primary election by a margin of 54 votes and Griego went on to win the seat.
In 1998, she ran for a seat on the newly created Public Regulation Commission from the 3rd district. In the primary election held on June 2, 1998 she faced fellow Democrat Jerome Block. The race was extremely close and Stefanics originally appeared to have won but final results, which included a number of originally uncounted ballots from Rio Arriba County, showed Block winning by approximately 0.2%. He went on to win the general election handily.
In 2000, she mounted a rematch against Griego, aiming to win back the seat she'd previously held in the state senate. She lost the primary by 53% to 47%.
Stefanics spent several years as the director of the New Mexico Health Policy Commission, a post to which she was appointed by Governor Bill Richardson. She had previously spent three years as deputy secretary of the state Human Services Department.
In 2008, Stefanics mounted a bid for the Santa Fe County Commission from the 5th district, which covers Eldorado and the Community College District south of the city. She won the Democratic primary election convincingly, garnering 52% of the vote in a five-way race. She was unopposed in the general election and took office on January 1, 2009. Stefanics was up for re-election in 2012 but drew no opponents in either the primary or general elections.
Stefanics is a lesbian and was the first openly gay person to serve in the New Mexico Legislature. She has spent almost two decades with her partner, Linda Siegle, a former chairman of the Santa Fe Community College Board of Trustees. Her campaigns have often won the support of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
- "Out and Elected in the USA: Liz Stefanics and Linda Siegle". Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "District 5 County Commission candidate: Liz Stefanics". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "Deputy Secretary for Programs Liz Stefanics". El Diario Sin Nombre. January 2003. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "Stefanics Concedes After Recount". Albuquerque Journal. 1998-07-15. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "New Mexico Secretary of State: 2000 primary election results". Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "County Commission Could Have Female Majority: Holian, Stefanics maintain leads". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "Chavez wins commission seat; Holian holds post". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- Haywood, Phaedra (25 May 2008). "District 5 County Commission candidate: Liz Stefanics". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- "County officials take office: First woman district attorney among those sworn in Thursday". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- Journal Staff (32 August 2013). "SF clerk staying open late to issue more same-sex marriage licenses; cancer-stricken woman among those who wed". Albuquerque Journal.
- Associated Press (August 23, 2013). "Santa Fe clerk begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples". The Santa Fe New Mexican.