With a vote this weekend, Democrats made it likely that Brian Egolf will be the next Speaker of the state House of Representatives this coming January.
House Democrats, who retook control of the House during November’s elections, met this weekend to vote on new leadership.
Democrats chose Egolf as speaker, Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque as House majority leader, Doreen Gallegos of Las Cruces as House majority whip and Wonda Johnson of Church Rock as House majority caucus chair.
Williams Stapleton will be the first African-American to serve as House majority leader in the state’s history.
The formal vote for Speaker of the House will take place in January when the Legislature meets during the regular legislative session.
Egolf said he was “humbled and honored” by the results of the vote and signaled some of the priorities for the new majority.
“Our campaign for the House focused on the need to create jobs and to grow our economy – and that remains our focus,” Egolf said. “I feel confident that we can achieve some good results for the state, by increasing our minimum wage, working with higher education for workforce training, and leveraging the local economic development act.”
Earlier in the weekend, Senate Democrats voted to name Peter Wirth of Santa Fe as the new majority leader and House Republicans voted Nate Gentry of Albuquerque as the new House minority leader.
Wirth takes over for Michael Sanchez, the longtime senator from Belen who lost in a bruising reelection campaign. Gentry previously was the House majority leader.
Democrats won election in 37 seats, with two automatic recounts pending. Democrat Daymon Ely leads incumbent Paul Pacheco in House District 23 by 98 votes, while in the other race Republican David Adkins leads Democrat Ronnie Martinez by just 10 votes out of 13,942 cast.
Correction: This post originally said Wonda Johnson is from Gallup, but she is from Church Rock.