raphael baca photo illustration

Staff Snapshots | Raphael ‘Drhett’ Baca

Feb. 10, 2022 | State Legislatures News | Print

Raphael ‘Drhett’ Baca

Hometown: Santa Fe, N.M.

Role: Building superintendent

Years of legislative service: 15

One thing he loves about his state: “I love our beautiful sky, from sunup to sundown!”


Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?

I chose to work at the Legislature to experience a new challenge. I worked in the construction industry for 20-plus years, including doing electrical upgrade projects at the Capitol building. The operation of this building did not disappoint. It really is a challenge to maintain and operate such an amazing facility. I am very grateful, honored and fortunate to work in this special building. I grew up in the South Capitol neighborhood and attended school just blocks from the Capitol. The neighborhood kids learned how to skateboard on the Capitol sidewalks and played football on the lawns on the weekends, when security was not around, of course. The New Mexico State Capitol feels like home to me.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

My ability to team-build. It takes a team to reach goals and accomplish complex projects. Everyone brings something to the table, and acknowledgment of everyone on the team builds a trust and mutual respect. Every day, one needs strive to be patient, understanding, flexible and positive.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

The best advice I was ever given was from my father. My grandfather was a professional boxer, and his advice was relayed to my father and on to me. “Sonny, life is like the sport of boxing. In your lifetime, you will be tested physically, mentally and spiritually to your limits. You will be knocked down many times, but you need to pick yourself back up and keep swinging.”

Who or what inspires you?

Love, compassion and service for others inspires me. My wife and daughter are master social workers, and the work they do with children and families in need is humbling to me. They rise every morning with the intention to help others and quite possibly make a generational change. The legislators and legislative staff inspire me as well. They, too, work very hard to represent and serve their communities and state to make New Mexico a better place for our citizens now and in the future.

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

I am currently reading “An Invitation to Poetry.” I like listening to Tony Bennett and other old crooners and Bruce Springsteen. I have enjoyed watching the NFL playoff games this year. Go Rams!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.

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