Commission nominates Vickie Perea for rep seat

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It took a little while to get there, but eventually Valencia County commissioners nominated Los Lunas native, Republican Vickie Perea, for consideration for a vacant New Mexico House of Representatives seat.

State Rep. Stephen Easley, a freshman legislator from Eldorado east of Santa Fe, died in August at the age of 60.

Easley, a Democrat, was elected last year to represent District 50, which includes parts of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia counties.

Since the district covered multiple counties, the commissioners from each county are required to submit a candidate for Gov. Susan Martinez to consider for Easley’s replacement.

At the Sept. 4 commissioner meeting, Commissioner Lawrence Romero asked if he could submit a name, since the part of District 50 in Valencia County is limited to his commission district.

“There is someone who has expressed interest,” Romero said. Commissioner Jhonathan Aragon asked if the commission was within the statutory guidelines to submit a name without a formal call by the governor.

County attorney Dave Pato said the commission was statutorily required to submit a name, but there was no process laid out in the law.

Commission Chairman Charles Eaton said Bernalillo County had requested anyone interested to submit a resume for consideration by that commission.

“I’m not sure this board would like to go through that process,” Eaton said. “It’s open for discussion.”

Acknowledging that the three voting precincts in the county that are part of District 50 were part of Romero’s commission district, Commissioner Alicia Aguilar said she felt it important to mention one name that had been formally submitted to the commission — Democrat Pam Cordova.

“I got a call from her and I know she met with Commissioner Romero,” Aguilar said. “She did submit a letter. I would like to hear comments from Commissioner Romero.”

Romero said he did meet with Cordova and had a long talk with her.

“But I had made a commitment before that, to Vickie Perea,” he said.

Aragon seconded Romero’s choice of nominee.

Eaton said he received a formal letter of interest from Cordova. But, Eaton said, not knowing what conversations Romero had with Perea, he would like to know a little more about her before making a decision.

Perea, who was in the audience that evening, was invited to speak to the commissioners briefly and tell them about herself.

She said she and her husband of 50 years, Serafin Perea, were both born and raised in Valencia County.

Perea said they spent several years living in Albuquerque and raising their two sons, but moved back home and now live south of the city of Rio Communities.

She was the administrator for the city of Albuquerque and managed $759 million-plus capital improvement program.

“I bring a wealth of experience. I ran for Albuquerque city councilor and was unanimously elected president of the council,” Perea said. “I stand before you tonight ready to serve the citizens of my county and I recognize that this district is not just this county but Torrance, Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties.”

Not mentioned by Perea were her two unsuccessful bids for public office. In 2012, Perea ran against Clemente Sanchez of Grants for the New Mexico Senate District 30 seat. She lost, 8,844 votes to 7,833.

She also faced off against Democrat Mary Herrera in a statewide race for secretary of state. Perea was unsuccessful in that race, 241,639 to Herrera’s 278,774 votes.

When Eaton asked for public comments, Mary Lee Serna, a city councilor for Rio Communities, asked the commissioners to submit Cordova’s name to the governor.

“I know that District 50 is a big district,” Serna said. “Pam is and has been very instrumental in our community and throughout the state.”

Sue Moran said she would like the commission to ask the candidates whether they supported the incorporation of Rio Communities.

“That’s important to their future,” Moran said. “Pam, I feel, would be best to represent Rio Communities with its needs. She lives there and has been active with the incorporation effort and fundraising.”

Aguilar asked Cordova to highlight her resume. Cordova, a retired teacher for Belen Schools, said she most recently managed the Los Padillas Community Center in Albuquerque.

While there, she doubled the center’s attendance.

“I am dedicated to what I do. I think I would do nothing but please Valencia County,” Cordova said.

Eaton called for the vote and it was four in favor with one abstention, himself.

Both Bernalillo and Santa Fe county commissions had the consideration of a nominee for the vacant seat on their agendas for meetings Tuesday evening. Those being considered in Bernalillo County are Pam Cordova, Vickie Perea and Frances Salas, of Santa Fe.

As of News-Bulletin press time, it was unknown what action the Bernalillo and Santa Fe county commissions took.

The issue was discussed at Wednesday’s Torrance County Commissioners meeting, and they will make an appointment at their meeting on Sept. 25.


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