A special endorsement

“Good leaders inspire people to have confidence in their leader. Great leaders inspire people to have confidence in themselves.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Gary Tripp is the embodiment of this quote and, because of this most important attribute of a leader, he has now and will always have my endorsement and support for any position or office he strives to attain.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Gary for over 20 years, first when he was Athletic Director at Moriarty High School, then in his role as Principal at Rio Rancho High School. In 2004, I was blessed to start calling Gary my boss when he became Executive Director of the New Mexico Activities Association. 

At the time, I had been at the NMAA for seven years and was considering leaving the Association for a job offer that was on the table from another entity.  He called and asked me to stay on to be the Commissioner of Officials for the Association. I remember doubting myself and my abilities but Gary saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself and convinced me I should stay.  I stayed on because Gary believed in me and inspired me to be confident in a new role. I am still in that position, 16 years later. Gary’s leadership changed my life and the course of my career and, for that, I am forever grateful.

Dana M. Pappas and Gary

The reason I share this story in my endorsement for Gary as Representative for House District 44, is because it is the true essence of him as a leader.  Gary is a REAL person who is able to get the best out of everyone with whom he works. He sees people’s strengths and places them in positions where they can be successful.  People want to work hard for Gary.  He is a collaborative leader who respects the opinions and insights of everyone, even if those opinions differ from his.  He has an incredible ability to unite people from every walk of life and is a genuine human being who can discern the difference of doing something for the greater good as opposed to doing things to only benefit a few.  Working for and with Gary, I was able to see what a magnetic personality he has and how people have the desire to help him when he needs it. He is a leader who trusts those around him to do their jobs and who supports those who he oversees.  

When you talk to people about Gary, one of the first words used to describe him is, “likeable.”  Other words that are synonymous with Gary are trustworthy, honest, caring, compassionate, hardworking and loyal.  On top of that, Gary is one of the proudest New Mexicans I have ever met. When he would go to schools across the state to talk to students, he always led with the fact that he was a lifelong New Mexican and you can tell how much he truly loves his home state.

I wish that I lived in Gary’s district so that I could proudly cast my vote for him.  Regardless of party affiliation or district he represents, I wholeheartedly endorse Gary based upon his leadership skills, his ability to unify people and the fact that he is one of the absolute best human beings I know.  He is the type of leader this state needs and would do abundant good for his district and for the Land of Enchantment. As a fellow lifelong resident of our great state, I can honestly say that we need more people like Gary in office at the statewide level.  He’ll make it a better place!


Dana M. Pappas

NMAA Commissioner of Officials