Denise Ramonas left the United States Senate after almost 23 years of service. She was part of the leadership team under two Majority Leaders as Assistant Secretary. During her tenure in the Senate, she also served as General Counsel to the Senate Budget Committee and Legislative Director to New Mexico’s longest serving Senator. She was the first woman to hold that role, and during her tenure 212 of the Senator’s bills became law. In addition to an expertise in budget and appropriations matters and parliamentary procedure, she has worked on major banking, securities, tax, energy, and trade issues. She was the staff director for the bipartisan, bicameral Arts Caucus.
Denise’s role as the Assistant Secretary for the Majority (or Minority), was to assist the Leader and all Republican Senators with their legislative agenda. As part of her responsibilities on the Senate floor, she served as a liaison between the Leaders of both parties negotiating agreements on major legislation. She also provided parliamentary advice and counsel to Senators, Committee Chairs, and Staff Directors regarding floor strategy during consideration of all pending matters on the Senate floor. She is fond of saying that her position was a “job with the best view into the legislative process.”
Denise was the senior staffer for the Strengthening of America Commission sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) which developed a report and legislation to put the United States’ fiscal house in order.
After leaving the United States Senate, Denise spent ten years working on economic development issues for a Santa Fe businessman. This was an opportunity to work closely with several of New Mexico’s Pueblos.
Denise was elected the Chief Clerk of the New Mexico House of Representatives. She worked closely with members of the House on a series of modernization initiatives including “the office in the palm of your hand” which enabled members to conduct business and serve constituents from anywhere in their district. She also pioneered several transparency initiatives including “amendments in context” which enabled the public to follow the legislative process as bills changed as they moved through the legislative process. These initiatives were designed to provide greater transparency into how our laws are made.
Denise also spent time in higher education administration at a private liberal arts college where she assisted the president of the college develop a series of scholarships and college financing alternatives to student borrowing that results in crushing student debt. Many of these programs served as models for changes made to the national student financial aid programs.
When New Mexico passed the constitutional amendment which switched the Public Regulation Commission from an elected to appointed Commission, Denise was appointed to the nominating committee whose task was to recruit, interview and recommend potential commissioners to the Governor. This new Public Regulation Commission is responsible for managing New Mexico’s energy transition and making sure that New Mexicans have reliable, affordable electricity.
Denise is married to George Ramonas, her husband of thirty-seven years.