April 14, 2015

Newest state Senator to be sworn in Friday

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Senator Phil Griego's desk on March 14, 2015 after his resignation. Photo credit: Andy Lyman

The State Senate will have a full 42 members on Friday after Ted Barela is sworn in to represent District 39.

Senator Phil Griego's desk on March 14, 2015 after his resignation. Photo credit: Andy Lyman

Senator Phil Griego’s desk on March 14, 2015 after his resignation.
Photo credit: Andy Lyman

The swearing-in will take place in Estancia on Friday. Barela will be sworn in by Magistrate Pro Tem Steve Jones in a public ceremony at the Estancia Community Center at 3:00 p.m.

The former mayor of Estancia will replace Phil Griego, who resigned after admitting to violating the state constitution by benefiting from a real estate deal made possible by legislation passed in the Legislature.

Barela will be sworn in two weeks to the day after Martinez made the announcement.

Martinez had hoped to name a replacement during the session (Griego resigned with a little less than a week before the end of the session). Some counties waited to name a nominee until 72 hours after the meeting agendas were posted, as is required by the Open Meetings Act, barring an emergency. Other counties declared an emergency and made a decision the day after Griego resigned.

The state Supreme Court refused to compel the other counties to speed up the process.

Barela is a Republican and his replacement of Griego, a Democrat, will narrow the advantage of Democrats in the chamber. Democrats will hold a 24-18 advantage instead of a 25-17 advantage before Griego’s resignation.

The district includes parts Santa Fe, Torrance, Bernalillo, Lincoln, San Miguel and Valencia counties. The Torrance County Commission picked Barela to replace Griego and Martinez made the decision to use Barela instead of nominees put forth by other counties in the district.