We decided the best way to give you a flavor of Santa Fe was to interview people who live here – so we’d like to introduce Hank and Bonney Hughes.
Tell me a little about yourselves?
We grew up in the Northeast. Bonney’s Dad was a teacher so she spent her summers in a small cabin in Nova Scotia – this gave her a love for the outdoors.
Hank grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with two brothers and a sister.
We moved to Santa Fe after graduating college – we drove to California and found it was too expensive and crowded so came back. Hank graduated with a degree in Environmental Engineering but learned that he loved working with people much more than engineering.
Bonney has a degree in Environmental Toxicology and has worked in this area for many years.
We have 2 sons, both in college now.
Currently, I am running for County Commissioner for District 5, and was appointed to the position on September 1 when the previous commissioner retired early.
When did you move to Santa Fe?
We moved here in 1986.
What drew you to Santa Fe? Is this still true?
Culture, wide open spaces, hiking, cost of living and I, Bonney, got a job with the State Environmental Department.
Where to do you live? Why this neighborhood?
We live in Eldorado. We have been here for many years so we have good friends here. We love that the air is clean, the views are lovely and there’s lots of greenbelts to walk on. There’s also the large wilderness area across from the development for easy hiking.
Have you always lived in this house?
We have not – we started in Eldorado but when our kids went to high school we didn’t want them to have to drive into Santa Fe so we moved up to Rancho Viejo for a few years. When they graduated we happily moved back.
What do you do now or what did you do to “make a living” in Santa Fe?
As we said Bonney has worked for the Environment Department. I discovered that I didn’t like engineering so I became the Executive Director for St. Elizabeth’s shelter. Then in 2000 seeing the huge need to co-ordinate funding for homelessness, I helped start the Coalition to End Homelessness in New Mexico. This brought together 30 agencies in the beginning, growing to 80 agencies now so we could get federal funding. I was on the board for a year and then became the director.
I’m adding a question – how did you decide to run for County Commissioner?
We need a County Commission that is ethical and effective. We need to be responsive at a local level to the needs of citizens. A couple of important items to me are: clean air and water – we have these right now but we can’t take them for granted. We need housing that is affordable for all those who work here. The County is about to open a new behavioral health crisis center which will provide much needed care and treatment for those with substance use problems or mental health crises. I want to focus on these areas and promote ethics in government.
What’s something you love to do in Santa Fe?
We love to hike and backpack – some of our favorite hikes are out in the Pecos Wilderness.
It’s been a great city to raise our kids in, and we’ve made many good friends.
What advice would you give someone who is moving here?