September 9, 2016

Gov. Martinez fills two legislative vacancies

Gov. Susana Martinez announced two appointments Friday to fill vacancies created by lawmakers who left the Legislature before the end of their terms.

RoundhouseMartinez appointed former State Rep. James White, an Albuquerque Republican, to fill the vacancy in Senate District 19.

Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort announced her resignation earlier this year. The veteran Senator from Sandia Park previously announced that the 2016 regular legislative session would be her last.

Martinez highlighted White’s nearly three decades as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

In the House, Martinez appointed a Democrat to fill the House seat of former Speaker of the House Ken Martinez.

Ken Martinez, no relation to the governor, is now Bernalillo County Attorney. When he accepted that job, he announced the 2016 legislative session would be his final session to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.

Ken Martinez was a former House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House until Democrats lost control of the chamber following the 2014 elections.

Susana Martinez appointed Harry Garcia of Grants to fill the vacancy.

Like White, Garcia is a military veteran; Garcia served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Both White and Garcia are running for a full term in office this November; both are expected to win in seats that are considered safe for their respective parties.

The two will likely get to cast important votes before then, however, when the Legislature convenes in an upcoming special session to deal with the large budget deficit. The governor’s office told some media they may add other items to the call as well.