Family, Determination and Community
Art De La Cruz is a life-long resident of the South Valley, where he continues to reside with his wife, Annette, and children, Reyes and Alejandra. Art was born at home and he still lives on his family’s homestead. His parents expected him to work hard, take care of family, go to school, and honor his name. Of humble means, his parents had to make do with what was available. As the family grew to 11 children, his father added onto their small home, room-by-room. He took cinder blocks from construction sites, cleaned off the old concrete and built the foundation of their home with them. Money was scarce, but there was never a shortage of pride in an honest day’s work. This type of ethics – pride and hard work, despite adversity, is what Art is passing onto his own family.
From onion fields since a fifth grader, Art worked various jobs while attending Rio Grande High School, sometimes straying from the path, but always staying true to the values that his parents taught him – to make something of himself. A fortunate encounter with a concerned teacher led him to wrestling at Rio Grande. Small in frame, but determined in spirit, he earned a full scholarship to wrestle for the University of New Mexico. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in University Studies and a master’s degree in management.
Art has dedicated his life to his family and serving his community. His career of public service has included senior management positions with the County and the City of Albuquerque. In 2003, he retired from Bernalillo County following 25 years of service where he spent much of his career overseeing land and facilities acquisition and enhancing the quality of life through expanded community services. As Bernalillo County’s Director of Parks and Recreation, he brokered the 640 acre Mesa Del Sol Regional Park project and instituted a variety of youth activities at all the community centers including before and after school care, literacy instruction, the largest state youth basketball program and senior meal sites at Rio Bravo and Pajarito
. He also worked closely on the original open space mill levy that allowed the County to purchase property for preservation including the historic Hubbell House
and the Serna property.
After retirement, he taught business and management courses at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and was appointed by the Mayor to serve as Deputy Director of the Solid Waste Management Department for the City to lead sustainability efforts.
With the support of his fellow Commissioners and in his first three years in office, Art brought an unprecedented $113 million + to District 2. He has successfully proposed a number of initiatives that include an intensive systematic graffiti
and community clean-up; sewer, water and road projects in the millions of dollars and a countywide, $100,000 Neighborhood Outreach Grant Program
, and $5 million toward acquisition of the former Price’s Dairy, in the South Valley, to create the first national urban wildlife refuge. Art is committed to providing economic development opportunities and creating much needed jobs for residents of Bernalillo County.
During his tenure, the following projects have taken place in his district: US Foodservice, CFV Fraunhofer, Admiral Beverage Corporation, and Las Estancias. In total, these projects will be investing up to $88.5 million into our local economy, creating 309 new permanent jobs for the citizens of Bernalillo County. Art has spearheaded small business summits and job fairs through the County’s Increment of 1 Program.
Art believes in people and knows what being part of a “community” means. He has volunteered his time toward many, worthwhile projects, advocated for adults and youth in the South Valley, and served as a longtime wrestling coach and mentor. He is making a positive difference.
Like his parents, grandparents, and neighbors, Art understands the values of hard work, family, respect and education. These values have brought him from a small home on Vista del Rio to the honor of serving District 2 as its County Commissioner.