Lisa Marie Gomez

Age: 24
Hometown: Santa Fe, N.M.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Lisa Marie Gomez has had long hair for a while. It used to flow down beyond her hips, but now goes to the mid-back.

“When I was in high school they called me Rapunzel, because my hair’s always been long,” she said.

Then, after graduating, an uncle snipped off a chunk, which made her trim down her locks. “He literally just got scissors and cut it.”

She added, “My initial reaction was shock, because I actually didn’t think he was going to do it, then he actually cut my hair,” she added. “So I was like ‘Alright, well now I’ll just try something else.’ ”

That go-with-the-flow mentality has stuck with Gomez after she moved to Washington from her native New Mexico.

After developing Native American health policy in then-Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) administration, she came to work at the Department of Health and Human Services, and now spends her days helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.

She enjoys the benefits of city life, especially exploring the local restaurant scene.

Gomez danced flamenco in New Mexico, but has had a hard time finding a place to cut a rug since she came to Washington more than two years ago.

These days, she stays healthy with hikes and yoga.

Still, her home state will always be a special place for her.

“There’s no place like home,” she said, reminiscing about the sunsets, clean air and clear skies. 

She also cited the lack of humidity, which she said prevents her hair from staying the way she wants it in Washington.

She also still has a bit of Western affability and says hi to strangers, even if they don’t say it back.

“People are just like really outgoing [in New Mexico] — and not like people aren’t outgoing here, but it’s just different,” she said. “When I first moved out here and was like ‘Hi, how are you?’ people thought I was crazy.”

Like any true New Mexican, Gomez is prepared to answer the official state question: red chili or green?

“Christmas,” she says — a mix of both.

— Julian Hattem

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