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District 3 - Olga Pedroza

2013-2017 – City of Las Cruces City Council for District 3 for four-year term. Next election is November 7, 2017

Olga Pedroza Biography

I was born in Mexico and came with my family to Chicago in the 1940s. I grew up in Chicago and attended Catholic school from elementary school through high school and on into college. I attended Mundelein College and graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Minors in Elementary Education and Theology.

I taught in Catholic schools for the next two years and then spent a year in Mexico teaching high school and adult English classes. I returned to the United States and became a case worker for the Cook County Department of Public Aid. I left that position when I helped form a community organization in the mid-1960s. A few years later I met the man who would become my husband and moved to New Mexico.

In 1972 we moved to Denver, Colo. and we both worked with the Crusade for Justice. While in Denver we had two more children and my husband earned a GED (general equivalency diploma), a bachelor’s degree and his law degree. I earned my Master’s Degree in Education. In 1980 we moved back to New Mexico and I went to law school, graduating from University of New Mexico in 1985 with my Juris Doctorate.

I began practicing law in 1987 as a private attorney for a short time, then working for the State of New Mexico as a Child Support Enforcement Division attorney until 1990 when I moved to Las Cruces and began working for the then Southern New Mexico Legal Services, which is now New Mexico Legal Aid. I worked there for more than 14 years, most of that time as the managing attorney for the Farmworker Unit (Centro Legal Campesino) and as the managing attorney for the Las Cruces unit. During that time I settled an undetermined number of cases and filed more than 50 federal lawsuits. Of those federal cases I won in litigation all but two and settled many more without the need to file. In addition to the employment-related farm worker cases I also handled domestic relations cases, Subdivision Act cases and other assorted types of cases. In 2004 I retired, only to return to work in 2005. In 2007 I retired again.

I became interested in serving my community on a different level in 2009. While in Mexico City, I was sent a video of Van Jones. He spoke about creating jobs for young people who had before been passed over. He spoke about the "green" economy and "green" jobs. I thought of all the young people who right now face an employment market that is stacked against them. Jones made a lot of sense. I could see the possibilities. City Council could be a place to start. This is why I am working closely with our schools. It sounds round about, but it's a start.

I was on the Board of Directors of the Women's Intercultural Center in Anthony, New Mexico for more than 10 years and the chairperson for several of those years. I was the co-chair of Tonali, which is the local women's bar association and was a member for several years. I was also on the board of CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates.

I have played tennis for many years, going to “Regionals” and "Nationals" in 2004 and several years with the Senior Olympics. I still play to this day.

Professional Recognition & Community Involvement

Awards

  • 2005 – MALDEF in San Antonio
  • 1998 – Hispanic National Bar Association for Excellence in Public Service
  • 1996 – First recipient of the “Fighting for Justice” award, Mexican American Law Students Association (MALSA)

Contact

  • Phone: (575) 541-2066
    Fax: (575) 541-2119
    Email
    Mailing Address: PO Box 20000, Las Cruces, NM 88004