January 19, 2017
Senate Democrats Elect New Chairs to Head Key Committees,
Sen. Soules to Education, Sen. Cervantes to Conservation
(Santa Fe, NM) – Members of New Mexico’s Senate yesterday selected new Chairs to lead two key legislative standing committees during the 60-day 2017 Legislative Session, the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Conservation Committee. Senator Joseph Cervantes (D – 31 – Doña Ana) will take over from the Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth (D – 25 – Santa Fe) to head the Senate Conservation Committee.
“I appreciate this opportunity from my Senate colleagues, and leading the committee entrusted with the future of our State’s natural resources. Our family has farmed alongside the Rio Grande for four generations, and I am reminded daily of these valuable but fragile treasures,” said Sen. Cervantes.
Senator Bill Soules (D – 37 – Doña Ana), a former teacher and principal from Southern New Mexico, will now oversee the Education Committee as Chair.
“I am honored to chair this important committee. Getting New Mexico’s children a world-class education must be our goal, and we have no time to waste. We will work hard to provide better solutions to help schools educate every student to their full potential, and to close the achievement gap in our state. High-quality education is critical to creating opportunity for our children to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. Our state is counting on the children in our schools today for its future,” said Sen. Soules.
Other changes made to the composition of Senate standing committees include Senator John Sapien (D- 9- Bernalillo & Sandoval), who has chaired the Education Committee since 2013, returning to the influential Senate Finance Committee.
“I previously served on the Legislative Finance Committee. Given my business background, where I help families organize their finances every day, this is a natural move. During my four years as Chair of the Education Committee, I learned how critical the budgets of schools and school districts are across our state. I know that I can make a valuable contribution not only to discussions about key issues of education funding, but also on issues of funding our government as a whole. I also believe that for the residents of my district in Sandoval County, serving on the Finance Committee enables me to make a real impact on funding for needed local infrastructure and other projects,” said Sen. John Sapien.
It is a rule of the Senate that no member may simultaneously serve on the Finance Committee and any other standing committee.
The organizational changes approved by the full Senate were proposed and approved earlier in the day by unanimous vote of the Senate Committees’ Committee, chaired by Senator Mary Kay Papen (D – 38 – Doña Ana), the New Mexico Senate Pro Tem.
In addition to electing new Chairs to head the Education and Conservation committees, other Democratic changes to the Senate’s organizational structure include:
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D – 15 – Bernalillo) joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.
Senator Jacob Candelaria (D – 26 – Bernalillo) joins the committee.
Public Affairs (SPAC)
Senator Elizabeth Stefanics (D – 39 – Bernalillo, Lincoln, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee.
Senator Jeff Steinborn (D – 36 – Doña Ana), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee.
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto leaves SPAC to join Judiciary.
Senator Jeff Steinborn (D – 36 – Doña Ana), newly elected to the Senate in 2016, joins the committee, and will serve as its Vice Chair.
Senator Liz Stefanics (D – 39- Bernalillo, Lincoln, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia), joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair. She was newly elected to the Senate in 2016.
Senator Bill Tallman, newly elected in 2016, joins the panel.
Senator Cisco McSorley (D – 16 – Bernalillo) joins the committee.
Senator Bill Tallman (D -18 – Bernalillo), newly elected in 2016, joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.
Senator Mimi Stewart (D- 17 – Bernalillo) joins the panel and will serve as its Vice Chair.
Indian & Cultural Affairs
Senator Bill Tallman (D – 18 – Bernalillo), newly elected in 2016 joins the panel. He replaces Sen. Cisco McSorley, who joins Conservation.