PEET-zuh for Progress

My, how the time flies… like beer bottles off Susana Martinez’s Christmas party balcony! Today, we celebrate FIVE years since the most epic PEET-zuh party





Executive Director 

Josette Arvizu

Deputy Director 

Valerie Torrez

Finance Director 

Lucas Herndon

Energy and Policy Director 

Jackie Aguirre

Communications Specialist 

Edgar Cruz

Communications Specialist 

Abraham Sanchez

Digital Strategist 

Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
just the facts

you should know

Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Josette Arvizu :: Deputy Director
just the facts

you should know

Josette Arvizu is the Deputy Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
  • Hasn’t heard a pun she didn’t like
  • Minored in dance in college and is an avid follower of ballet on Instagram
Valerie Torrez :: Finance Director
just the facts

you should know

Valerie Torrez, CPA, is the Finance Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the day-to-day financial systems, budgeting, reporting and internal controls of the organization.
Valerie worked in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years before going back to school and receiving a dual Masters of Accounting and Entrepreneurship, with distinction, from UNM Anderson School of Management. Valerie then worked in public accounting specializing in nonprofit auditing for 6 years before joining ProgressNow New Mexico. Valerie is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the state of New Mexico and a member of both the New Mexico Society of CPAs (NMSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
  • “Speaks” 3 other languages; Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, all poorly.
  • Has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and is a Certified RYT-200 yoga instructor.
  • Traveled to more than 15 other countries and hopes to visit more soon.
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
just the facts

you should know

Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009
Abraham Sanchez :: Digital Strategist
just the facts

you should know

Abraham Sanchez is a Digital Strategist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on disinformation to create communications that promote accurate political information in support of progressive issues across our state.

Abraham is born and raised in Las Cruces, NM and has experience in election administration, community organizing, and community building. He has served in volunteer roles including the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission and as a board member of various nonprofit organizations.

  • Lived in a historic Las Cruces home over 100 years old that was once owned by a Dona Ana County Clerk and NM House Enjoys competitive billiards and has played in numerous amateur national tournaments
  • Enjoys competitive billiards and has played in numerous amateur national tournaments
  • Animal lover still mourning the loss of his large cats Mongo and Bubba with plans to adopt more animals in the future