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Born in 1947, Steve was raised in Hobbs, New Mexico. He attended New Mexico public schools, and graduated from New Mexico State University with a BBA degree in economics and from Eastern New Mexico University with an MBA. Steve was elected Student Body President at NMSU.
Steve was a pilot in the Air Force, serving in the Philippines, flying missions into Vietnam. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Returning to the U.S., he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. He separated honorably with the rank of Captain.
Steve was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1996 and re-elected in 1998. Steve served as Republican Caucus Chairman and was selected as "Outstanding Legislator" by the New Mexico Technology Showcase for his work in economic development using technology.