- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s Democratic-led Senate will convene in January with a backlog of confirmation decisions on dozens of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s appointees.

The governor’s office says the 85 first-term appointees awaiting confirmation include numerous members of state boards and commissions and three Cabinet secretaries, the Albuquerque Journal reported Monday (https://goo.gl/TmkD8K ).

The list includes Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, who has led the state school system since 2011. Skandera, who was appointed but not confirmed during Martinez’s first term, said she plans “without a doubt” to keep the job even after a Senate panel deadlocked earlier this year on whether to advance her nomination to a vote by the full chamber.

“To date, the process has been disappointing,” Skandera told the Journal. “I am hopeful that as we move forward, we can focus on what’s most important - our kids and their success.”

The governor has criticized the Democratic-controlled Senate for the slow pace of the confirmations and using the process to “play politics.”

However, Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Linda Lopez, a Democrat, said the confirmation rules were used under Martinez’s predecessor, Democrat Bill Richardson.

The process includes a formal application and background check, among other steps.

Confirmations could be further complicated by a 2008 constitutional amendment that requires returning Cabinet secretaries to be confirmed again if they return for a governor’s second term.

Martinez was re-elected last month.

Cabinet secretaries can remain in their jobs even without being confirmed, but they must leave office immediately if the Senate rejects them.

Previous governors, when faced with Senate opposition, have sometimes given those nominees another title and kept them on the job.

Of the 85 pending nominations, 13 date to 2011, while the rest are more recent, according to a list provided by the governor’s office.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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