Carrie Hamblen is originally from El Paso, Texas. Born in Wisconsin, Carrie’s family decided to stay in El Paso after her father completed his career in the Army. Unfortunately, when she was 12, her father passed away suddenly. Being raised by a single parent, Carrie learned how to be resourceful and active. At the age of 13, she began volunteering as a swim instructor with the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department. Twice a day, for three hours, Carrie would teach small children how to swim at Veterans Park Pool. At the age of 16, she became a lifeguard, and at 17, managed her first outdoor swimming pool. By the time she was 19, she was troubleshooting problem pools in El Paso, fixing failing programs, increasing revenues, and nurturing customer relationships.
While in high school, Carrie served as the Student Body Manager. This included running the pep assemblies, announcing the marching band at events, and reading the school announcements. She also served as the editor of the school newspaper (the Aquila) and was a photographer for the yearbook.
It was her love of speaking in front of people (and journalism) that led her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Texas at El Paso. After graduating in 1992, she moved to Las Cruces to pursue a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University and graduated in 1995. In 2010, Carrie returned to NMSU to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, graduating in 2014.
Her Professional Life
She began working as a student employee at KRWG in 1992 and was promoted to Operations Manager in 1997. While there, Carrie hosted classical and jazz programs, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air, before settling in as the Morning Edition Host. She also wrote, produced, and hosted her public affairs program “Images” for 15 years. During that time, she won numerous awards for her interviewing and reporting.
In 2012, Carrie became the CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization which focuses on creating support for local businesses and creating more awareness about sustainable communities. Carrie serves as the liaison between the Green Chamber and private, nonprofit, and governmental entities. The Las Cruces Green Chamber has been a strong advocate for protecting open spaces, tourism, and local businesses. Under Carrie’s leadership, the Green Chamber has become nationally recognized as the agency that successfully connects local economies with our public lands and spaces. The Green Chamber has created the Think Local First program, the Sustainable Business Recognition Program, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP) marketing Toolkit, the SaveLWCFNewMexico.com campaign, and the Construction Compadres.
Carrie is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, and chair of their Fundraising/Development and Board Development committees. She is a former Governing Council member of the J. Paul Taylor Academy Charter School. She served 8 years as President of the Las Cruces chapter of PFLAG, a support and advocacy group for the LGBTQI community. While with PFLAG Las Cruces, Carrie led the efforts for Domestic Partner Benefits at New Mexico State University and with the City of Las Cruces.
She also was Chair of the Southern New Mexico PRIDE organization for 6 years. She currently sits on the Leaders Circle of the Success Partnership for Ngage New Mexico, advocating for community schools, early childhood education, and nonprofit capacity building.
When she is able, Carrie likes to emcee events for local nonprofits and groups. She has been the emcee for many PFLAG and PRIDE events, the Southwest Environmental Center’s “A Wild Night for Wildlife”, Cruces Kids Can, Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Open House, and much more. And, even though she isn’t a professional auctioneer, she has live-auctioned items at many of these events.
Her Memorable Moments
Carrie has had some incredible and somber experiences. At the age of 12, she lost her father to a fatal heart attack. When she was 28, she lost her brother, who died in a freak car accident. Her remaining immediate family, consisting of her mom, niece, and her husband and their two children, all live in El Paso. However, despite the hardship of losing family members, Carrie has also had some incredible experiences and memories. In addition to graduating from college with two Masters Degrees, it was marrying her wife, Char, in 2013 that was the most memorable moment in her life. After fighting for marriage equality for over a decade, Carrie and Char were the fifth couple to be granted a marriage license on August 21, 2013. On that day, the County Clerk’s office began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, arguing that the New Mexico State Constitution did not specify the gender of those getting married. In December of 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in favor of this effort. Carrie and Char heard the news while on their honeymoon in Aruba.
The second most memorable moment was meeting former President Barak Obama while in Washington, DC for the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Carrie was invited to speak at the ceremony that designated OMDP, being the sole representative speaking for New Mexico. She spoke of the economic benefits to local economies with the designation of a national monument. She was able to meet President Obama, thank him for his support of OMDP and thank him on behalf of her wife and herself. She also was able to thank former Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, who was a champion for national monuments.
In Her Spare Time
Carrie enjoys working on the 1948 home she shares with her wife. She has remodeled their kitchen, both bathrooms, and pantry. She builds customized furniture to fit their needs, including cabinets, bookshelves, and tables. She also enjoys working out in her yard, growing vegetables for her wife, and making their backyard a welcoming space for friends and fun.