About Us

Leadership Team

Elaine Sullivan

Board President

Elaine Sullivan - Board President AFLEPI have been involved in this work since the fall of 2012 when our grassroots organization, Banking on New Mexico focused on ways to keep public dollars working for us at home, so our communities and all our residents can thrive. Subsequent research in our state and around the nation has convinced me that, with persistence in holding to our economic justice vision propelled with solid research and education about the public banking alternative, we can create a vibrant, economically healthy New Mexico.

In 2017-18, I served on the City of Santa Fe Public Bank Task Force.

I grew up in a small town in western Kentucky when small business was still the center of a community’s economy. My father, a dairy farmer, taught me a powerful lesson when he set the family’s rules to buy only from dairy customers and from businesses providing local jobs. When Walmart arrived in Mayfield, he was quick to say, “this will be the death of downtown.” After my daughters were raised and I’d retired from organizational consulting work, my deep passion for the fair labor movement and reviving local economies took center stage. I am proud to have helped form the Santa Fe PFLAG Chapter (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the groundbreaking Santa Fe Business Alliance, established to promote the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses and keeping more of our money circulating in our local communities. I advocated for the Living Wage Network and was a founding member of WeArePeopleHere! in 2011.

Peter Smith, Ed.D.

Board Secretary

My career in higher education includes serving as Assistant Director General for Education for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris, France and as state senator (1980-82), Lt. Governor (1982-86) and Congressman (1989-1990) for Vermont.

I was the founding president of both California State University Monterey Bay and the Community College of Vermont, and currently I hold the Orkand Endowed Chair and Senior Advisor to the President at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC).

I believe the concept of a state bank for New Mexico is community-based capitalism at its best. Instead of putting our tax dollars in the pockets of shareholders and executives from out-of-state, it makes sense to put them to work employing New Mexicans, creating great infrastructure, and keeping control within our borders.

Jennifer Kreie


I retired from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in 2018.  I am professor emeritus in Information Systems in the College of Business.  I taught courses about database (Oracle, Oracle APEX, SQL), systems analysis and design and enterprise systems (SAP).  My areas of research were primarily ethics and end-user development. Shortly after retiring I developed several educational playlists about my course topics on YouTube to contribute to the free educational community in my field.

I grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and have also lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, before moving to Las Cruces in 1998 to teach at NMSU. I earned a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Arkansas, an M.B.A. at Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems at the University of Arkansas.

When I retired, I knew I would stay in southern New Mexico. This is my community and my home. I look for ways to be actively involved in my community because it makes me feel useful and I get to meet some of the most interesting and courageous people.

I have been very impressed with the experience and professionalism of AFLEP’s leadership team and their commitment to the well-being of communities in New Mexico. It is a privilege to join them in their work to promote economic prosperity throughout our state.

Gregory Chavez, PhD, P.E.


I became interested in advocating for and being a part of the implementation of the Public Bank of New Mexico, because its mission to establish resources for the unique needs of New Mexicans to promote the common good resonates with me. Being from Northern New Mexico, I am vested in current and future prosperity of the New Mexico community. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work in New Mexico which is an opportunity that I believe the Public Bank of New Mexico can enable for other New Mexicans interested in creating opportunities in their home state of New Mexico.

By education and training as an engineer, I was taught to effectively solve problems. In fact, I enjoy solving problems so much I obtained a PhD in Engineering and I am currently a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of New Mexico. Moreover, I have volunteered as the Chairman for the Acequia Madre de Santa Barbara, been a big brother volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of central New Mexico, volunteered as chairman on the supervisory committee of State Employees Credit Union, and volunteered for numerous activities in my local community. I bring a unique perspective to the Board which combines my individual life experiences and knowledge gained as a problem solver through several successful high profile projects within the area of systems engineering.

Robert A. Mang


I co-founded and am retired from the Regenesis Group, a Santa Fe based international consulting company to developers, architects, civil engineers, planners and community development professionals and activists. Prior to moving to Santa Fe, my business background focused on infill real estate investment, development and finance, and as a relocation financial consultant to several Silicon Valley companies.

My public policy background ranges from international relations to environmental and regional planning, and I’ve authored articles on sustainable community and ecological development.

I currently serve on the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission; on the Board of Jessica’s Love Foundation; and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce Board, and recently served on the City of Santa Fe Public Bank Task Force. In past years, I’ve served as Chair of the International Rivers Network, was President of the Greenbelt Alliance in the San Francisco Bay Area; and am a former Board member of the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, the Partnership for Responsible Business and a founding Board Member of Sustainable Communities, Inc. and 1000 Friends of New Mexico.

My wife Pamela and I have been residents of Santa Fe since 1991.

John P. Muñoz

Board Member

I am currently Executive Director of Las Cruces based Electronic Caregiver Inc., one of the fastest growing health and safety monitoring companies employing cutting edge technology to help users with their health care needs. My work has included ramping up and managing several large medical-contact businesses around the US. My business development activities have been recognized by the White House and State and Federal Legislatures, and I had the wonderful opportunity to represent the Las Cruses Chamber of Commerce on a visit to the regional Chapter in Italy, the Camera diCommerica Industria Artigianato e Agricoltura di Sassari.

I enjoy emceeing local benefits like the boxing fundraiser for at-risk kids at the Burke Center and MLK Day community breakfast. My wife, Lia and son Stfano and I are committed to community involvement, especially if it calls for language skills. Lia speaks 5, Stefano 4 and I speak 3.

Angela Merkert

Executive Director

Angela Merkert - AFLEP - Executive DirectorAfter attending the Craig Barnes lectures and grassroots organizing meetings in Santa Fe, I became active in WeArePeopleHere! (the nonprofit inspired by his work), where I led a study group on Deliberative Democracy. Then I moved to Albuquerque to head a nonprofit and joined an economic justice group in my faith community, out of which grew a robust book discussion on What Then Must We Do? by Gar Alperovitz.

Public banking emerged as a compelling response for creating greater economic parity in our state – and the organization, Public Bank for Central New Mexico was formed. Our group participated in the 2014 international Public Banking Symposium in Santa Fe and then organized an Albuquerque Symposium in 2015 for regional leaders.

My professional background includes tenure as a university professor in education; leadership and organizational development in the corporate world; and Executive Director roles in nonprofit organizations for 14 years. Throughout my career, my passion has focused on enacting change that strengthens our democracy through social and economic justice; affirming dignity and respect for every person; and increasing access to and engagement with, quality education for children, especially early childhood programs.

Living in New Mexico since 2006, I’ve also been an advocate for safe, affordable housing and expanded support for homeless families, especially those with young children. I’ve been active in the United Way of Central New Mexico’s Mission: Families Vision Council and the Early Childhood Accountability Project (ECAP). I earned a B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State University; an Ed.D from New Mexico State University; and a MTS (Master of Theological Studies) from the Harvard Divinity School.

Sarah Manning

Outreach Coordinator

I’ve been blessed with several life experiences, all of which drive and inform my conviction that a public bank for New Mexico is the missing tool our future needs to thrive. My small business in sporting retail taught me that any endeavor’s chances for survival relies on access to credit and capital. Decades of working in elementary education proved that access to community support systems enhance every child’s growth, education and career. Volunteering through the Master Gardening program and managing a 700-acre ranch showed me that every decision made and every action taken influences many other people, plants, and landscapes.

I believe we do not live isolated lives. I have a responsibility to consider community needs and dreams and to take a thoughtful role in participating in our mutual society. I’ve been blessed by those who came before me. I hope those who come after us can say that we made wise contributions.

Melissa Pickett

Outreach Coordinator

Melissa Pickett - Core Team, AFLEPDuring my professional career at Sunwest Bank of Albuquerque (a community bank acquired by Bank of America), I served as International Banking Officer, Electronic Banking Manager, Commercial Banking Officer and was Vice President and Marketing Director when the bank was absorbed by one of the big ten multinational banks.

As a native New Mexican, I see trajectories for our state that are both exciting and terrifying. Infrastructure, agricultural, social and economic initiatives that support a livable, resilient economy are paramount if we are to survive the volatility and challenges of this time. Seeking solutions beyond the status quo will ensure our local communities thrive. A public bank is a real nexus of the money culture that connects us to the benefits of taking back our money. My experience as a banker, organizational development consultant, and health and wellness advocate, tells me that it is time for a Public Bank for New Mexico.

Clifton Chadwick

Outreach Team

I have lived most of my life in New Mexico, graduating from the University of New Mexico. I have worked helping to promote local businesses for over 30 years, watching the inexorable encroachment on our local economy by actors taking our wealth out of the state. In the early 2000’s I got involved with “KeepItQuerque.org” to promote the importance of “buying local” as a crucial means of keeping money generated by the efforts of New Mexicans recirculating within our own economy rather than let it “leak out.”

When Craig Barnes described a plan to establish a Public Bank effectively owned by the taxpayers of New Mexico, I felt that was right in line with the idea of keeping more of our New Mexico money working here in for New Mexicans. I began collaborating with the group that is now Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity and am pleased to help move the idea to reality.

Dorothy "Dee" Gamble

Outreach Team

​I was born and raised on a farm in northeast Colorado and did undergraduate work at the University of Colorado. After college I spent two years in Colombia, South America, with the Peace Corps doing urban community development. After graduate school at Columbia University I taught community social work and community sustainable development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for more than 30 years.

My community social work syllabus always had a unit about the Public Bank of North Dakota because it seemed an encouraging example of keeping public money local for local investment and improving community wellbeing. I was delighted to find the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, to be part of a group with interest in developing a Public Bank in New Mexico. Our work with AFLEP involves outreach, especially in the North Central Economic Development District, with the Food and Farm Policy Council, and with indigenous food and farm entrepreneurs. I am also a volunteer in the Santa Fe Public Schools through Communities In Schools.

George Gamble

Outreach Team

George Gamble -Board Secretary AFLEPI retired as a cultural anthropologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and moved to Santa Fe in 2005. At UNC, my primary focus was public health and medical research.

Born and raised in New York City, my teen years were spent on a chicken farm in upstate New York, near Cooperstown.

My undergraduate years were divided between Michigan State University and Long Island University, and my graduate years were spent at UNC in Chapel Hill. In 1962 I joined the Peace Corps with a school building project in the West African nation of Gabon. Later, during graduate school, I did research and lived in Venezuela for two years. Since moving to Santa Fe, I’ve served on the Santa Fe County Health Policy and Planning Board, tutored in the public schools and in January of 2022, I’m honored to be assuming new duties as the President of the Santa Fe Community College Governing Board.

Vicki Hagen

Outreach Team

Vicki Hagen - Core Team AFLEPAfter being involved with public banking advocacy for five years, I have more and more come to realize the significant impact a public bank can have on our state. It will allow our taxpayer money to be leveraged to create non-tax revenue (more money without additional taxes). Further, a public bank can provide a means to put more of our state money back into our local economy by supporting economic development and education, to name just two areas.

As a retired English and math teacher, I want to use my communication skills to help my state prosper and be a great place to live.

Rebeca Jasso-Aguilar

Outreach Team

I became involved with the public banking movement in 2014, after attending the Public Banking Symposium in Santa Fe sponsored by WeArePeopleHere!. I have a PhD in Sociology and have studied social movements in Latin America. Public banks were a staple in Latin American countries until the early 1980s; during these times their economies were stronger and healthier; Latin America’s economic decline coincided with the establishment of neoliberal policies that included the privatization of banks. The evidence suggests that a public bank can promote economic well-being and help weather economic crises. I strongly believe that studying the different public banks that exist in the world, and the efforts that are currently underway in various cities and states in our own country, will allow us to find the model that works best for New Mexico’s economic needs.

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september, 2023

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It's Our Money with Ellen Brown

Episode: Everyone deserves a public bank

Join those who’ve endorsed a Public Bank for New Mexico

Paul Gibson endorses Public Banking NM

“I had the good fortune to work on this initiative before Bernie kidnapped all my time. This is one of those no-brainer initiatives that only the 1% could oppose. It has the potential to save the state millions of dollars by vastly reducing the cost of its bonds to improve infrastructure funding. in a public bank, our state funds can be used to build our local economy and our local infrastructure.”
– Paul Gibson
Retake Our Democracy