Taos County Commission nominates longtime lawmaker for Cisneros seat

Bobby Gonzales

State Rep. Bobby Gonzales, a 25-year veteran of the New Mexico House of Representatives from Ranchos de Taos, got backing Thursday from the Taos County Commission to succeed the late Carlos Cisneros in the state Senate.

The commission voted 3-2 to send Gonzales’ name to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who will make the final decision on the appointment. Senate District 6 also includes parts of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties, so the governing bodies from those counties also will name nominees to fill the vacancy.

While there are four counties in the district, about 60 percent of the population of is in Taos County.

“I’ll be meeting with the commissions in Santa Fe and Los Alamos next Tuesday,” Gonzales, 69, said in a telephone interview. “I’m not sure when Rio Arriba County meets.”

Other contenders for the vacancy are Taos Land Trust Director Kristina Ortez and Taos Mayor Dan Barrone.

Gonzales said he had talked with fellow Democrat Cisneros about the possibility of succeeding him as a senator. He also said that since Cisneros died in September, he had received “about 20 phone calls from Senate members on both sides of the aisle” urging him to seek the post.

First elected to the House in 1994, Gonzales, a retired educator, is vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Asked why he would give up his seniority in the House, Gonzales said he believes it’s easier for senators to get bills passed. “The House passes so many bills, it seems most of them end up in a logjam in the Senate,” he said,

Gonzales said regardless of whether he gets the appointment by the governor, he still intends to run for Senate, not the House, next year.

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