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Staff Snapshots | Sunny Liu

July 19, 2022 | State Legislatures News | Print

Sunny Liu

Hometown: Portales, N.M.

Role: Senior Fiscal Analyst, New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee

Years of legislative service: Seven

One thing he loves about his state: “I love the dry, arid climate. Sorry, I just don’t like being cold or in humid environments for too long.”


Why did you choose to work at the legislature?

Prior to working for the Legislative Finance Committee, I was teaching high school math in Arizona on the Navajo Nation. I felt many of the challenges my students faced couldn’t be solved by schools alone and wanted to work on policies that addressed larger societal issues. Additionally, my previous experience in student government piqued my interest in working for the state and it brought me home to New Mexico.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

I’ve been training my whole life to be a good listener. English was not my first language, so growing up I spent more time trying to understand others and developing a habit of soaking in information before acting or speaking. I’m still working to hone that skill, though, as I’m finding that active listening requires me to contribute my thoughts and opinions as well—and more people are asking me for those now.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Whenever I faced problems or setbacks, my parents reminded me of an old Chinese proverb: “Failure is the mother of success.” As a child, I would often be paralyzed by a fear of failure, so knowing it is often a necessary ingredient for progress has helped me move along in times of doubt.

Who or what inspires you?

My parents inspire me—their story of emigrating to the United States is always impressive. I can’t imagine how much determination it took them to leave their family and country; start from nothing more than a suitcase and a few dollars; learn the language, culture and norms of a foreign place; raise a family; and still manage to achieve part of the American dream. It pushes me to dream big and make meaning of their sacrifice to give me a better life.

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

Quite late, but I’m finishing the “Harry Potter” series after putting it down at “The Goblet of Fire” in my childhood years. Yes, I know, it’s absurd that I haven’t finished it yet.

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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