Governor appoints Aragon to commission

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Almost two weeks after Valencia County Commissioner Donald Holliday’s official resignation, Gov. Susanna Martinez announced her appointment for the vacant District 5 seat.

Jhonathan Aragon: New county commissioner

Republican Jhonathan Aragon, a resident of the village of Bosque Farms, will take Holliday’s place, serving on the county commission until Dec. 31, 2014.

Aragon was sworn in just after 5 p.m. Monday, the same day as the governor’s announcement. He will take his seat on the commission next week.

After getting the call from the governor’s office, Aragon said it’s been a crazy day and a half.

“I got the call from the director of commissions. When he said ‘congratulations,’ I was just ecstatic,” Aragon said of his appointment.

This is not Aragon’s first experience with local politics. Last year, Aragon was the appointed to the ballot by the Valencia County GOP after the death of the party’s original county commission candidate, Benito “Ben” Serna.

He ran against Holliday, picking up 2,824 votes to Holliday’s 3,244.

Aragon, who has been interested in politics since the eighth grade, said he got some calls asking if he was still interested in a seat on the commission after Holliday announced his resignation.

“After the amount of work we put into the campaign last year, I was just heartbroken when I lost,” he said. “So when I heard the position was opening back up, I was excited to have another opportunity to possibly serve.”

His first, and foremost concern, is his constituents, Aragon said.

“I want to work for them. I’m going to be going to municipal meetings to get their view on things,” he said. “I want to focus on what their concerns are.”

And there are a myriad of county-wide issues Aragon will have to tackle — the hospital, roads, animal control and solid waste, to name a few.

“All those issues are very, very important. I’ve got to get in there, do my research, roll my sleeves up and get into it,” he said.

Aragon wanted to extend a big “thank you” to everyone for the opportunity to serve — his family, friends and supporters, the governor for the appointment and the constituents he will serve.

“I want to let everybody know I am willing to hear what they have to say and definitely want that input,” he said.

District 5 includes Bosque Farms, the town of Peralta, the southern portion of Isleta Pueblo, the eastern portion of the village of Los Lunas and parts of unincorporated Valencia County.

Holliday’s last meeting was July 17. He put his letter of resignation on the county manager’s desk the next day, naming July 31 as his official last day in office.

In June, Holliday, a Democrat, announced he and his wife, Valerie, would be leaving the county in August after the sale of their Bosque Farms home.

In the News-Bulletin article about Aragon’s appointment last year, David Vickers, chair of the Valencia County Republican Central Committee, described Aragon as “sort of the cream of the crop of his generation.”

Aragon, who will be 26 next month, has been a veterinary assistant at Village Veterinary Hospital in Bosque Farms for more than seven years.

He holds an associate of applied sciences degree from the University of New Mexico and is working toward a bachelor of medical laboratory sciences degree from UNM.

At Los Lunas High School, Aragon was active in football, wrestling and boxing — his favorite sport. He graduated in 2006.

The new commissioner has been engaged to Amy McGrane for almost two years.

Valencia County Commission Chairman Charles Eaton said he was looking to Aragon sitting on the board.

“I am looking at this optimistically,” Eaton said. “I think he will do a fine job. He is a young man, energetic, and has goals and vision for his district and the county. Hopefully we can assist with some of those goals.”

Eaton said he would do everything he could to assist Aragon as he learned the ropes.

“I want to see what we can do to move the county forward. The differences we have on the board are not going to help the residents. We need to set aside some of our differences,” he said. “I hope he can come in and study the issues, independently weigh them out, vote his conscious and do what’s right for Valencia County.”


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.