2022 NMRA Year in Review


2022 was a busy year for NMRA. We started off with a 30-day legislative session that saw us work with lawmakers to bring much needed funding to a recovering hospitality industry. During the devastating fire season we collected and distributed donations to affected hospitality employees. The board of directors completed a strategic plan for the association to support the industry. We had a very successful awards dinner and our ProStart competition was one for the books. We love what we do, and we couldn’t do it without you!


2022 Legislative Recap

During the 2022 legislative sesssion NMRA advocated on behalf of the industry in favor of SB 191 and the budget increase requested by the Tourism Department, which provided $17.5 million dollars that was essential in  attracting necessary tourism dollars and ensuring our employers have a trained workforce. 

Our campaign in support of SB 191 sent weekly emails keeping members engaged and we were also able to connect 501 industry advocates with thier elected official a total of 8,566 times in support of tourism & hospitality.

The association also supported the Governor’s initiative for a statewide 0.25 percent reduction in the gross receipts tax rate, lowering the statewide rate to 4.875 percent. This was the first change in the statewide gross receipts tax rate since July of 2010, when the rate increased from 5 percent to its current 5.125 percent.

Wildfire Relief

2022 saw a devestating wildfire season unlike any in recent memory. In addition to the loss of property and safety, many businesses were not able to operate and their staff were often unable to make ends meet. NMRA saw an opportunity to support the members of our community in need through our Serving New Mexico fund. Hospitality employees were encouraged to submit their financial hardships to our HIEF director, who then approved immediate grants that could be used to pay bills, buy groceries or help with car repairs among other qualifying factors.

New Mexicans Helped

Total In Relief Grants


GRT Decrease

  • Total emails and contacts made to ABQ City Councilors and ABQ Mayor: 1,305
  • Total number of advocates: 133

Outcome: Ultimately, Mayor Tim Keller and the city council were able to defeat the effort by councilor Dan Lewis to reduce the city GRT by 1/8 of a cent.


Political Representation

  • Held Townhall Webinars with Gubernatorial candidates Mark Ronchetti, Jay Block, Rebecca Dow and Greg Zanetti to keep members informed on the candidates. Gov. Lujan-Grisham decliend our invitation.
  • Provided members with voting resources including fact sheets on important issues & polling place locations.


Political Representation

  • Met with Legislative Finance Committee in SIlver City in August to present the current state of the industry and garner support for collaboration of recovery initiatives.
  • Met with Economic & Rural Development committee in December.
  • Held 4 separate special webinars with a total of 14 legislators to discuss plans for the 2023 session.


Paid Sick Leave Mandate

In 2021 the legislature passed the Healthy Workplaces Act requiring all New Mexico businesses to provide paid time off for all employees. We tried to fight the legislation in 2022 but the Governor did not allow the legislation to be heard again. In July of 2022, the legislation went into effect. NMRA led the charge in ensuring restaurants were informed and compliant when the law went into effect. The association Partnered with state agencies to deliver webinars, & a sample policy and other content to our members to make the complex process as painless as possible.


Craft Spirits Showcase

In 2021 the legislature passed a law allowing NM Restaurants with a Beer and Wine license to buy a permit to sell NM Spirits. To help New Mexico Restaurants take full advantage of the Liquor Laws that changed during the 2021 session, NMRA partnered with the New Mexico Distillers guild to connect restaurants with alcohol vendors. The event brought together leaders from both industries to show what is possible under the new license category that allows restaurants to serve New Mexico distilled spirits.

Prostart Competition

This year saw the return of in-person competition for the New Mexico ProStart program for high schools. Chaparral High was recognized as the winner for the management competition for the second year in a row. For the culinary competition,  Carlsbad High School was recognized as the winner. The 2022 winner of the Hospitality Cup, the school with the best score combined in the culinary and management competitions, was Taos High School.

The 2022 ProStart Teacher of the year is Adam Medina of Carlsbad High School.

Recipients of Hospitality Industry Education Foundation (HIEF) scholarships were also recognized at the dinner. HIEF awarded $7,500 in scholarships to three students pursuing a career in hospitality this year.

2022 also saw the return of our in-person celebration for the Hospitality Industry Awards.  The highest honor a restaurateur can achieve in New Mexico is Restaurateur of the Year. New Mexico is home to such a great variety of restaurants that it is difficult to choose a winner each year. Lawrence & Suzanna Becerra of Spinning Plates Group were recognized as the 2022 Restaurateurs of the Year.

The Chef of the Year award is given to recognize chefs who provide excellent cuisine as well as excellent service. Fernando Olea of Sazón was honored as Chef of the Year for 2022.

The Manager of the Year recognizes outstanding managers who are the team leaders in a restaurant establishment. This year’s recipient is Santo Militello of Vernon’s Speakeasy.

Restaurants are strong supporters of the communities in which they reside. Nine out of ten restaurants contribute to a community service project or fundraiser on a regular basis. The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors a restaurant that is a good neighbor in their area and has had a significant impact on the community. This year’s recipient was Matt DiGregory and the team at Range Café.

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