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Mayor Keller Announces Appointment of Lan Sena to City Council

Sena’s dedication to Westside community, life story represent the true Albuquerque spirit

March 10, 2020

Today, Mayor Keller announced the historic appointment of Thanh-Lan “Lan” Sena to the City Council District 1 seat. Sena brings a fresh perspective and unique background to Albuquerque’s City Council. Lan is a first generation daughter of a refugee, and was born and raised in the Duke City. She is a Westside neighborhood leader, healthcare advocate, and three-time cancer survivor. She will be the first woman to represent the district, and the first Asian (Vietnamese) American to sit on the City Council. 

Mayor Tim Keller said the following about his selection:

“There were many great applicants, including two family members of former City councilors, and we thank them all for stepping up for the Westside. No one will be able to fill Ken’s shoes and his record for his district is legendary and his legacy will be with us for decades. Lan Sena especially stood out to our vetting committee because she represents the growing future of the Westside while respecting its heritage and deep roots. Lan’s commitment to the community and her own story represent the true Albuquerque spirit. She loves our city because our city takes care of families like hers. Her life experiences reflect Albuquerque’s modern history, and drive her passionate dedication to our diverse and vibrant future. Her proven track record at the Westside community level as a healthcare advocate, and her track record of personal strength and determination bode well in her new job.”

Sena’s connection to Albuquerque began when her mother arrived here as a refugee from a war-torn nation, four months pregnant, not knowing anyone in her new city. Neighbors and the community demonstrated the spirit of Albuquerque by stepping up with donated items, packed lunches and compassion for a newcomer who did not speak English. That’s how Lan came to be born and raised in Albuquerque, and fell in love with the city that had stepped up for families like hers. She was drawn to settle on the Westside for its beauty and strong sense of community, building a life in the District with her husband Joey Sena, who grew up in Pecos. Lan joined her neighborhood association and worked to protect green spaces, meet with business owners, help the homeless, address crime and shape zoning changes. Surviving three cancer diagnoses built a foundation of resilience and courage, and inspired her to fight for policies to make sure people can access services like transportation and health services when they need them.

“It is the stories and experiences of those that have come before me, like the late City Councilor Ken Sanchez, that move me to advocate for others and remember the Burqueño way,” Lan Sena said. “I am committed to working hard for the district and continuing important efforts on the Westside.”

Sena earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s in Health Administration. She is the chair and founder of the Asian Pacific American Caucus. She serves as a board member for the West Bluff Neighborhood Association and New Mexico Health Care Executives, and previously held a position on the board of the Asian American Association of New Mexico. Additionally, Sena is an advocacy ambassador with Be The March Public Policy and Founder’s Council with the United States of Care.

City Council President Pat Davis said, “Congratulations to our newest City Councilor. We look forward to hitting the ground running and supporting her and everyone in her Westside district.”

District 3 Councilor Klarissa Pena said, “I look forward to working with Lan Sena who was appointed to represent City Council District 1. There are many issues that the Westside needs addressed, and I anticipate she will be a great partner. I also look forward to working with another woman of color who understands the importance of addressing equity in our city.”

Sena was one of sixteen people who applied for the District 1 seat, and was the top choice after the vetting process, which included interviewing with the selection committee of district representatives, city executive staff and Mayor Tim Keller.

The seat was previously held by the late City Councilor Ken Sanchez for over 14 years.