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Jim White chosen to replace Richard Berry in legislature
The Bernalillo County Commission selected Jim White tonight to replace Albuquerque mayor-elect Richard Berry in New Mexico’s House of Representatives.
There had been speculation that the Commission would consider Josh Anderson, a Democrat, who is the political director for AFSCME, as well as Kevin Dixson, a Republican, who works at Sandia National Labs.
But the Commission only considered White, who was nominated by Commissioner Michael Brasher.
Brasher said White was someone with a background of “tremendous community service,” who had integrity and was well-educated. He’d be a good fit for the community, Brasher said.
New Mexico’s Republican Party seemed prepared for White’s selection. Within minutes of the decision, they released a statement by GOP Chairman Harvey Yates Jr. lauding the appointment.
“I am pleased that Colonel Jim White was selected to continue R.J. Berry’s tradition of service to the constituents of House District 20. Col. White’s leadership qualities will prove a valuable asset to the legislature during the upcoming special session and for the remainder of Mayor-elect Berry’s term.”
Brasher said there were three people who expressed interest in the position, all good people, but that the Commission needed to move quickly. He didn’t name those people.
Commissioner Maggie Hart-Stebbins–who was herself appointed this year by Gov. Bill Richardson to replace Deanna Archuleta–asked for a 48-hour deferral so that the Commission would have more time to consider other applicants, but none of the other Commissioners wanted to do that.
Commissioners Brasher and Michael Wiener both said they needed to move quickly due to the special session this weekend.
“Whoever gets appointed tonight, that person needs to plan to be in Santa Fe this weekend,” Wiener said.
Commissioner Alan Armijo said he agreed that the Commission needed to move quickly. Plus, he said he didn’t know if his schedule would allow a special meeting on Thursday.
“It would mean a special meeting later in the week, I’m not sure my schedule would allow that,” he said.
Brasher followed up by saying he agreed with Hart-Stebbins that more time would be beneficial, and that normally he’d be in agreement with her.
“It is a concern when you’re forced to make a decision quickly, and in my district there will be people who will want to know why it’s been so rushed,” he said.
Commissioner Art de la Cruz weighed in similarly, saying he would have wanted more time normally.
“It’s a very difficult position for us to be in,” he said. “Had it not have been for a special session, we would have wanted more time. I got some resumes right before this meeting—it puts us in a very difficult situation.”
If White wishes to remain in the legislature, he will need to win his party’s nomination next Spring and run in the general election in November.