Current Office:State Senator
In 2002, Governor Gary Johnson appointed Gay Kernan to fill the unexpired term in Senate District 42. She ran for election in 2004 and was successful in retaining the seat. Senator Kernan serves on the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Public Affairs Committee. During the interim, she serves on the Legislative Education Study Committee, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, the Water and Natural Resources Committee, the Courts, Corrections and Justice Oversight Committee, the Funding Formula Task Force and the Executive Committee of the Council of States Government-West. Senator Kernan is serving her second full term in the New Mexico State Senate.
Gay Gottshall Kernan was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1947. Her family moved to Hobbs, NM in 1954. She attended the Hobbs Municipal Schools, participating in activities such as Student Council, New Mexico Girl's State and the William Randolph Hearst Senate Youth Program in Washington, DC. Following graduation from Hobbs High School, she attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Gay continued her work in student government, serving in the Student Senate, serving as secretary to the Associated Student Body and as Senior Class Secretary. Graduating with a B.A.E., Kernan moved to Houston, TX to begin her career in the field of education.
Gay G. Kernan served on various boards and commissions. Gay assumed responsibility for her father's storage facility and oil and gas lease in 1986 upon his death. In 1992, she returned to the classroom and taught first grade for Hobbs Municipal Schools for 11 years. For the past four years, she has served as the assistant coordinator for the Early Reading First Program and the Pre-Kindergarten Program in the Hobbs District.
Gay Kernan is a member of Rotary International, the PEO Sisterhood and the First United Methodist Church.
Gay Kernan has been awarded in the 2007 Lea County Women's Network Career Achievement Award, the 2006 Citizen of the Year Award (Hobbs Board of Realtors), the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Rookie Legislator of the Year Award, the Hobbs Jaycees Outstanding Young Woman, and the Hobbs Jaycees Family of the Year.
In 1973, Gay Gottshall married John B. Kernan and joined him in Galveston, TX where he was completing his medical education. Following his graduation they moved to Shreveport, LA for residency training. Eventually, Gay and John returned to Hobbs, NM where Dr. Kernan began his medical practice. They have one daughter, Elizabeth, of Austin, TX.