Debbie Jaramillo

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Debbie Jaramillo
39th Mayor of Santa Fe
In office
Preceded bySam Pick
Succeeded byLarry Delgado
Personal details
Born1952 (age 71–72)
Residence(s)Santa Fe, New Mexico

Debbie Jaramillo (born 1952) is an American politician who served as the 39th mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1994 to 1998.


Mayor of Santa Fe[edit]

Jaramillo was elected mayor after serving six years on the city council. She was Santa Fe's first female mayor.[1] As a city councilor, she had expressed concern about the gentrification of Santa Fe, which was forcing the primarily Hispanic local population to move out of its historical neighborhoods: "We painted our downtown brown and moved the brown people out", she said in 1991.[2] She ran on a platform promising to place the interests of local residents above those of Santa Fe's booming tourist industry,[3] in contrast to the more pro-development policies of the incumbent mayor, Sam Pick.[4] Her campaign slogans included "Take back Santa Fe!", and in her victory speech she said, "This town is not for sale. It belongs to the community."[5]

Jaramillo had previously run against Pick for mayor, unsuccessfully,[4] and her 1994 election was viewed as an upset, since she had been outspent by her opponents and she had trailed in pre-election polls.[6]


Jaramillo's administration was marked by controversy.[4][7] She pushed through a plan for the city, assisted by The Trust for Public Land, to acquire the 50-acre (200,000 m2) Santa Fe Railyard property and begin its conversion into a public mixed-use development.[8] A new police chief, Donald Grady, was hired in an effort to modernize and bring a community policing philosophy to the Santa Fe Police Department,[7] whose previous chief had been a target of Jaramillo's criticism. However, Grady's efforts met strong opposition[1] and he resigned in 1996.[9] Grady was replaced by Jaramillo's brother-in-law.[10] Since Jaramillo's brother, Ike Pino, was already the city manager, this appointment led to charges of nepotism, although Jaramillo defended her relatives, pointing out that Santa Fe had "always been a community that was related to one another."[11] Shortly thereafter, Pino was removed from his city manager position by the city council.[12][13]

In 1998, Jaramillo lost her re-election bid by a decisive margin. The winner, Larry Delgado, was viewed as taking a centrist position between the anti-development policies of Jaramillo and the pro-development policies of Sam Pick, who was also running for mayor again.[4] Jaramillo received 11% of the vote, behind Delgado's 44% and Pick's 32%.[14][15]

In 1999, Christine Marie Sierra, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, produced a documentary about Jaramillo's election, entitled This Town Is Not For Sale!: The 1994 Santa Fe Mayoral Election.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b James Brooke, "Rift in Santa Fe Over Black Police Chief", The New York Times, November 25, 1995.
  2. ^ Chris Wilson, The Myth of Santa Fe (University of New Mexico Press, 1997), ISBN 978-0-8263-1746-9, p. 165 (excerpt available at Google Books).
  3. ^ Dennis Wall, "Santa Fe's balancing act", New Mexico Business Journal (December 1997)
  4. ^ a b c d Andrew Leo Lovato, Santa Fe Hispanic Culture: Preserving Identity in a Tourist Town (University of New Mexico Press, 2006), ISBN 978-0-8263-3226-4, pp. 109ff (excerpt available at Google Books).
  5. ^ James Brooke,"In Santa Fe, Residents Turn Cold Shoulder to Newcomers", The New York Times, January 19, 1997.
  6. ^ Ernie Atencio, "New Santa Fe mayor says: "'This town is not for sale'", High Country News, March 21, 1994.
  7. ^ a b Louis Sahagun, "POLITICS - Mayor Moves to Shake Up Santa Fe - Debbie Jaramillo is lauded, lambasted in her bid to reclaim 'true soul' of enclave", Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1994.
  8. ^ Wrenn Propp, "Railyard Is Chugging Along", Albuquerque Journal, July 11, 2004 (registration required).
  9. ^ Bill Piatt, Black and Brown in America: The Case for Cooperation (NYU Press, 1997), ISBN 978-0-8147-6645-3, pp.49-54 (excerpt available at Google Books).
  10. ^ "Embattled Santa Fe Chief Quits After Trying to Revamp Police", AP in The New York Times, February 11, 1996.
  11. ^ Peter John Bakewell, A History of Latin America: c. 1450 to the Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), ISBN 978-0-631-23160-8, p.544-545 (excerpt available at Google Books).
  12. ^ Lori Pugh, "Santa Fe Ends Lively 12 Months", Albuquerque Journal, January 1, 1997 (registration required).
  13. ^ Elvia Diaz, "Police Chief Out; City Manager Next", Albuquerque Journal, March 10, 1998 (registration required).
  14. ^ Elvia Diaz and Scott Smallwood, "Delgado Is Next Santa Fe Mayor.", Albuquerque Journal, March 4, 1998 (registration required).
  15. ^ "Santa Feans hand incumbent Mayor Jaramillo a crushing defeat", AP in Albuquerque Tribune, March 4, 1998 (registration required).
  16. ^ Curriculum Vitae of Cristine Marie Sierra at University of New Mexico Department of Political Science website (retrieved July 31, 2009), p.4.
  17. ^ "'Colores' Looks At Debbie Jaramillo", Albuquerque Journal, April 24, 1999 (registration required).