My Turn

Reflections on the House nomination process and result

By Daniel Pritchard
Posted 1/10/20

The Taos County Commission chamber was about half-full last week as citizens heard presentations from four candidates running to represent District 42 in the State House of Representatives.

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My Turn

Reflections on the House nomination process and result

Posted

The Taos County Commission chamber was about half-full last week as citizens heard presentations from four candidates running to represent District 42 in the State House of Representatives.

Four county commissioners, representing the 30,000 or so citizens of the district, were to make an important choice. This task should have been planned in advance with some effort put into crafting thoughtful questions relevant to the job, and importantly, questions about how the selectee would be representing the people of District 42. This was not the case.

There seemed to be no coordination of the questions for the candidates, nor a process to actually conduct a vote. It seemed improvised, rushed. In the questioning, clearly there were important topics that were not covered, such as, "What is your philosophy of governing?" or, "How do you intend to conduct outreach to your constituency so that you represent them accurately?" and, "What areas of expertise will you bring to the Legislature?" After all, the new state representative is to represent all of the residents of Taos County.

The appointment by the governor will last until a new representative is selected in the November 2020 election. The job involves much more than "bringing home the bacon" (aka pork) from the upcoming 30-day session, as some commissioners often stressed.

This job is also a grueling, consuming schedule of committee meetings and House floor interactions, to say nothing of the study required to become knowledgeable of the bills being considered. Then there are the many off-session meetings and responsibilities. The job deserves a 110 percent dedication and a person who represents the interests of the constituency.

Mayor Dan Barrone was the person selected by our commissioners. The mayor clearly wears many hats and now has an additional one. Let's hope this is not one hat too many.

There was no mention of leadership by any of the candidates, although one candidate (Kristina Ortez) did say she would quickly call town hall-style meetings with the citizens. Ortez's desire to connect with constituents demonstrates leadership. Other candidates seemed to be content with generic statements about "working together." That sounds good on the surface, but the job is more than "buddyin' 'round the Roundhouse" for a few weeks.

This was an opportunity to move forward; it seems to have defaulted to the business-as-usual, status quo model.

Daniel Pritchard is a resident of Taos County.

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