Nearing the end of her second term as a city councilor, Diane Gibson says she is not going to run again. She says it’s time to let someone new take the Near Northeast Heights seat.
Gibson was born and raised in Detroit in a working class family. Gibson moved to New Mexico in 1975. She said she fell in love with the beauty and culture here. Gibson retired from Sandia National Laboratory in 2008. She was one of less than a handful of women who worked as a prototype machinist before doing nearly a dozen years as an environment, safety, security and health coordinator. Gibson won her council seat in a 2013 runoff and took the 2017 election easily.
The Paper.: Why did you seek the position to begin with?
Councilor Gibson: I have been fascinated with politics and government since I was quite young. I have spent much of my adult life in coordinated efforts for policy, local issues and electoral politics. But it never occurred to me to be a candidate until I was well into my 60s when I couldn’t get responses from my councilor.
How would you describe your time on the Albuquerque City Council?
Rewarding. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with residents and business owners who are dedicated to making the city an even better place. I learned much from them.
What are you most proud of accomplishing during your time on the Council?
It may be the range of projects that my office has taken on that gives me the most satisfaction.
Everything from alleviating the adversity for people living without reliable shelter to making access to schools safer for students to beginning the first city program in the U.S. to close the gap in gender pay inequity and the construction of the stunning Los Altos pool building to contributing to the large—and ultimately highly successful—effort in funding and implementing positive train control, a federally mandated $60M safety system for the Rail Runner.
What are some things that you wanted to do but didn’t get done?
I have projects that are funded but won’t be completed until 2022 or later after I’ve left office. The McKinley area bike education center, the renewal of Montgomery pool and, of course, Los Altos park renovation—I am happy all are funded and will be used by the people of Albuquerque for decades to come.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to your successor? To your constituents? Your colleagues?
It’s the only advice I give and it’s what I continually remind myself: Listen more than you talk. You don’t know as much as you think you do.
Anything else you would like to add about your experience on the City Council?
It’s been important to me to show integrity as a city representative. I’ve worked hard to gain the trust of constituents starting with the 2013 campaign while walking and knocking for seven months before the election. Since then my office has continued building relationships in a face-to-face setting with our monthly Coffees with the Councilor, town halls, public meetings and neighborhood events. I appreciate forthrightness from others, so I communicate as truthfully and candidly as I can.