Jon Barela is the Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department. He was appointed by Governor Susana Martinez and confirmed unanimously by the New Mexico State Senate.
During his tenure, Barela was instrumental in leading the state's efforts to reform its tax structure by lowering the state's corporate income tax rate 22 percent – from 7.6 to 5.9 percent and implementing a single sales factor virtually eliminating the tax manufacturers on products exported outside of New Mexico. He has been praised for his work to reduce the regulatory burden on job creators. He established the Office of Business Advocacy within the department to assist businesses navigating the state regulatory, licensing and permitting process. Nearly 2,000 jobs have been created or saved as a result of the Office of Business Advocacy.
His efforts to reform New Mexico’s tax code has helped bring investments from Union Pacific, TE Connectivity, Honeywell’s Bendix/King and Lowe’s Customer Contact Center, Canon Information Technology Systems, Google, Franco Whole Foods and international businesses like Turkish CN Wire and German business Certoplast to New Mexico.
Through Barela’s leadership, New Mexico moved from 38th to 1st in the country in terms of export growth and has been widely recognized for promoting New Mexico’s products and services abroad, which includes nearly doubling exports to Mexico.
Since taking office, New Mexico’s unemployment rate has dropped 2 percentage points; New Mexico’s private-sector jobs have grown by 2.4 percent, international exports have hit record highs and the construction, transportation and logistics industries have experienced an increase in growth.
Barela is a native New Mexican, and prior to taking office was a small businessman and an active leader in the state for more than 25 years.
He began his career in public service as a senior aide to the late New Mexico Congressman Joe Skeen on the House Appropriations Committee. He returned to New Mexico and joined the Modrall-Sperling Law Firm. Four years later he became New Mexico’s Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Civil Division. In this role, he led unprecedented efforts to enforce and educate the public about New Mexico’s open meetings and public records laws. Barela joined Intel, one of New Mexico’s largest private employers, as its community and government affairs manager for 12 years. He set company benchmarks for outreach into underrepresented communities and was awarded the Intel Achievement Award, the company’s highest and most selective honor.
Barela has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors and committees and is passionate about making New Mexico a better place to live and work. He has made competitiveness and improving education central themes in his chairmanship of several significant organizations, including:
-Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce
-Association of Commerce and Industry Board
-New Mexico First, the state’s leading nonpartisan public policy group
-New Mexico’s Workforce Development Board
-Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation
-Albuquerque Public Schools Board
-Kirtland Partnership Committee
-Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Superior Service Award recipient
Barela graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in History and Diplomacy and earned his law degree from Georgetown while working for Congressman Skeen.