Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, announced her retirement from the state senate effective Aug. 1.
She has served District 42, which includes portions of Lea, Eddy and Chaves Counties, for 21 years after being appointed in 2002 by then-Gov. Gary Johnson.
“After much prayerful consideration and with the help of my family, I have made the difficult decision to resign from my seat as New Mexico State Senator for District 42, effective August 1, 2023,” Kernan said in a statement. “I have not taken for granted the trust and confidence the voters have placed in me. Serving the constituents of Lea, Eddy, and Chaves Counties in the New Mexico Legislature has been a privilege and a tremendous honor. While I will miss my constituents and colleagues, and while transitions can be challenging, I am confident the Lea, Eddy, and Chaves County Commissions will recommend a qualified nominee from which my replacement will be selected.”
Kernan is the sixth-longest serving member of the state senate and one of the longest-serving female legislators in New Mexico history, a press release from the Senate Republican caucus said.
Prior to becoming a senator, Kernan was a teacher for 28 years and is a small business owner in Hobbs.
She is a ranking member of the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee.
The counties she represents will nominate a person to fill her seat on the state senate, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will choose from those names to replace Kernan.
Whoever the governor appoints to represent District 42 will serve the remainder of Kernan’s term, which ends at the end of 2024.