By Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s utility regulation committee ousted its Navajo chairwoman for what she claims is retribution for pushing for more broadband access in rural communities.

The state’s Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to replace Chairwoman Theresa Becenti-Aguilar with Commissioner Stephen Fischmann.

Becenti-Aguilar claims the recall occurred because her fellow commissioners gave the issue of rural broadband availability far less priority than she had.

Commissioner Cynthia Hall disputed Becenti-Aguilar’s claim but did not provide a reason as to why she was ousted.

Fischmann declined to answer any questions about Becenti-Aguilar’s removal.

Becenti-Aguilar had been the chairwoman of the commission since 2018 and represents the northwest region of the state.

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