Representative Gail Chasey
New Mexico State Representative Chasey was first elected in 1996, and is serving her 10th term as state representative in New Mexico.  A Democrat, representing a diverse and progressive Albuquerque district that includes the University of New Mexico, Rep. Chasey has been Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.  She has also co-chaired two interim committees – the Courts, Corrections & Justice Committee and the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Oversight Committee.  In addition to the 2009 repeal of the death penalty, a bill she had championed since 1999, Rep. Chasey has successfully sponsored legislation to eliminate filing fees for victims of domestic violence, end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and expand community corrections.

A native of Arizona, Gail’s first professional job was as a high school English and history teacher in California’s Salinas Valley.  After moving to New Mexico in 1971 and earning her Master’s in special education, Gail was a special education teacher in the Albuquerque Public Schools.  While studying for her Ph.D. in special education, which she received in 1981, Gail became the Executive Director of the Albuquerque Special Preschool, an early intervention program for children ages birth to five.  While there, in 1985, Gail joined with parents and colleagues to advocate successfully at the New Mexico Legislature for public education for three- and four-year-old children with delays or disabilities. Gail then worked with others at two early intervention programs to co-found Alta Mira Specialized Family Services.  She joined the UNM Health Sciences Center as a Senior Research Associate at the program now called the Center for Development and Disability.  For nine years, her work there centered on helping regular early childhood programs throughout the state – from Las Cruces to Ruidoso to Navajo – include children with developmental delays with their typical peers.  Representative Chasey also worked at Family Voices, a national organization led by families with children who have special health care needs, and as Chief Administrative Officer of EASi Therapy and Diagnostic Services.

Representative Chasey has received recognition for her legislative accomplishments.  In April 2009, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers presented her with its Champion of Justice Award, and in June 2009, the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association recognized her with a Champion of Life Award.  At a ceremony in Rome, Hands Off Cain, an Italian organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, named Representative Chasey and Governor Bill Richardson “Abolitionists of the Year” in its 2009 report on the death penalty.  Rep Chasey and Governor Richardson were similarly honored in 2010 by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty at a ceremony in Louisville, KY.  Gail was also an invited panelist at the World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, held in Geneva, Switzerland in February 2010.  She was named Democratic Woman of the Year in 2009 by Emerge NM.  In 2010, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of New Mexico named Representative Chasey “Legislator of the Year.”  Planned Parenthood of New Mexico honored Gail with its “Walk the Talk” award in 2014.

After serving in the Legislature for more than ten years, Representative Chasey graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2008, and began a second career as an attorney.  Gail works as a sole practitioner, primarily as a court-appointed attorney in abuse and neglect cases, representing children who are in state custody, or adults who are working to be reunited with their children.  Gail has two sons, one step-son, three step-daughters, and five grandchildren.  She is married to David Norvell, former Speaker of the House and New Mexico Attorney General.