Gus Pedrotty -President, Board member
Former Candidate for Mayor of Albuquerque, Pedrotty grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in May 2017 with bachelor's degrees in chemistry and psychology. His professional experience includes working as an assistant hall coordinator at the University of New Mexico and as an intern with Project Echo.
Kathleen Burke - Vice- President, Board Member
Kathleen Burke is the Associate Director of Street Safe New Mexico, where she is a leader in
human trafficking prevention and advocacy for sex trafficking survivors in New Mexico. She is a
member of the New Mexico Human Trafficking Task Force and Albuquerque’s Southeast Area
Community Policing Council, where she is a voice for the community in the U.S. Department of
Justice police reform effort. Kathleen was a National Delegate for Bernie Sanders at the
Democratic National Convention of 2016. As a committed and high-profile Progressive activist
in New Mexico, Kathleen places a high priority upon issues of transparency and improvement of
the electoral process in New Mexico.
Bob Perls - Executive Director
Bob moved to New Mexico when he was five years old and raised a family in Albuquerque and Corrales. He attended Albuquerque Public Schools, Pomona College, where he earned a B.A. in Government and University of Maryland where he earned an M.S. in Healthcare Management with honors. Bob started his own medical technology company, Monitech, Inc., at the age of 24 and sold it in 2008 after 25 years of operation. In addition, he was elected to two terms to the New Mexico House of Representatives representing parts of Sandoval County, did consulting for a Governor of New Mexico on ways to create jobs through renewable energy and ran unsuccessfully for Congress and the PRC for a total of 13 years of political, elected and campaign experience. He co-founded a charter school in Albuquerque, NM called Public Academy for Performing Arts. Bob spent 2009 working on two start-up companies, one in telemedicine and one in cybersecurity. He became a U.S. Diplomat in January, 2010 and served in Germany, Canada, Pakistan and The Gambia. He returned full-time to New Mexico in the spring of 2015 and lives in Corrales with his wife Joan.
He is fluent in German, tries to speak Spanish and is an avid cyclist, skier and martial artist. He is married and has four grown children.
Phone: 1(505) 259-2377
Greg Sonnenfeld - Board Member
Greg Sonnenfeld is a native New Mexican and has been a resident of both Las Cruces and Santa Fe. He attended NMSU for Engineering Physics, interned at LANL, is a recipient of a NASA Achievement Award and DOE SBIR Award, has a fundamental publication in prognostics of power semiconductors, and has a patent pending in energy storage and generation. His emphasis is in scientific and enterprise software, experimental engineering, simulation and mathematical modeling of systems, project management, patterns and practices, and software integration.
In 2014, Greg Sonnenfeld began his work in political advocacy with WolfPAC in an effort to overturn Citizens United. In 2016, he was elected to the DPNM SCC ( Democratic Party of New Mexico - State Central Committee). He used this position to hold DPNM officers accountable for election misfeasance in partnership with 3 governor candidates, coordinated several DPNM rules and resolutions campaigns ( including the passage of a resolution against the “DCCC incumbent protection racket” ), served on the DPSFC Rules Committee, and served as DPSFC parliamentarian. He also serves as a DSA organizer and has coordinated numerous campaigns, forums, training and legislation initiatives for political advocacy groups and candidates for statewide office.
Barry Bitzer - Board Member
Barry brings a long, successful political resume to bear, often in unconventional fashion. On Capitol Hill, he was a senior aide to the late Congressman Steve Schiff and communications director for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He served until 2008 as chief of staff to ABQ mayor Marty Chavez, and wore a variety of hats in the administration of Governor Gary Johnson – most notably as Deputy Secretary of Human Services and Director of the Child Support Enforcement Division. Barry’s recent stint as development director at the NM BioPark Society featured a campaign for a $17 million per year GRT revenue stream to overhaul and expand the Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach. A 1985 UC Berkeley Political Science graduate, Barry currently works as a Church administrator and as a science teacher at Legacy Academy. He also serves on the NM Environmental Improvement Board.
Senator Bill Tallman - Board Member
Bill Tallman is a retired City Manger with over 35 years of experience as the Chief Administrative Officer of several mid sized full service cities mostly in the Midwest and Northeast. Bill is the past President elect of the Connecticut City Management Assoc.
He has published articles in the Public Management magazine. As an active member of the Municipal Leagues of Pennsylvania, Illinois and Connecticut, Bill has testified before many state legislative committees
Bill is a past member of the Corporation for Regional Development, Quad City Civic Center Authority and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments.
Bill received his M.A. degree in Public Administration from The University of Cincinnati and his B.A. degree in Political Science from Syracuse University.
Bill’s most recent position was Deputy City Manager of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since retiring eight years ago, he has served as a pro-bono mediator in metro court, been an active board member of several non-profits and been very active in the Democratic Party before being elected a New Mexico State Senator, District 18, in 2016.
Diane E. Albert, PhD, JD - Secretary, Board Member
Diane E Albert, PhD is a US registered patent attorney and is licensed to practice law in New Mexico. She is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar and the NM State Bar.
Diane specializes in patent and trademark prosecution, patentability analyses, trade secrets, copyrights, entertainment law, licensing, and various types of contracts.
Diane graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2007 after working at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for twelve years. Diane holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from The Ohio State University (cum laude).
Diane currently serves on the UNM School of Law’s Alumni Board. She is past Chair of the Intellectual Property Practice Section of the NM Bar. Diane is a 33-year member of The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) and serves on its Accreditation Committee.
Diane’s Awards include the UNM School of Law’s Helen S. Carter prize for Outstanding Legal Writing, 2007; the ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law, UNM School of Law, May 2007 and the Dean’s Award for Significant Contribution to the Law School Community, UNM School of Law, May 2007.
Diane was elected to serve on the Los Alamos County Council and was appointed to both the Los Alamos and Los Ranchos Planning and Zoning Commission.
Damian Lara - Board Member
Mr. Lara received a B.A. in political science and in philosophy from Brown University in 2001. From 2001 until 2003, he worked for the United States House of Representatives, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he focused on federal and international legislation that disproportionately impacted Hispanics in the United States and Puerto Rico. In 2002, he was recognized by the National Association of Community Health Centers as an outstanding congressional staffer for his work in increasing healthcare access to underserved populations.
Mr. Lara came back to New Mexico and received his JD from the University of New Mexico in 2007. Together with two other students, Mr. Lara’s moot court team brought a Hispanic National Bar Association national championship trophy to UNM in 2006. Mr. Lara was also a legal clerk for Governor’s Counsel under the Richardson administration.
Mr. Lara is now Chair of Ward 16A and works at his wife’s law firm, Calderon Law Firm LLC, on immigration, property, domestic matters and personal injury. Mr. Lara and Ms. Calderon were recognized as the NM ACLU 2019 Attorneys of Year.
Dennis Montoya - Board Member
Dennis W. Montoya is the Immediate Past State Director of New Mexico LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. He is the current President of the Sons of the American Revolution, Albuquerque Chapter, and the State Secretary for that organization. He is a former Ward “D” Chair for Sandoval County Democratic Party and a former member of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Platform and Resolution and Affirmative Action committees. He at present serves on the DPNM State Central Committee. Mr. Montoya previously practiced law for about 25 years in the State of New Mexico, for the last 18 years of his practice time focusing on employment law, criminal defense, civil rights and personal injury. He currently teaches mathematics and in the past has taught mathematics, science and Spanish at the high school and college levels. Mr. Montoya is from Lucero, Mora County, New Mexico.