Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday announced that she appointed Frank Joseph Mathew, 60, to state District Court.
Mathew, who owns his own law firm in Santa Fe, will take the Division I seat left vacant by Judge Barbara Vigil, who was elected in November to the state Supreme Court.
A graduate of Notre Dame who has experience in commercial and domestic relations law, Mathew hopes to start work in court on Feb. 4.
Reached by phone, he said he “definitely” plans to seek election to the bench in 2014. District court judges run in a partisan race in their first election, and for retention after that.
On Friday, Mathew said the news was still soaking in, but he felt “wonderful.”
“I’m very grateful to the governor for her consideration and appointment,” he said. “I’m also grateful to all the people who supported me and encouraged me to apply and who supported me through the process. I owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Martinez, in a press statement, called Mathew “exceptionally qualified.”
“His depth of legal knowledge is vast and I am confident that he will make an excellent judge for the people of Northern New Mexico,” she said.
Fourteen people applied for the position and interviewed with the state Judicial Nominating Commission in December.
The commission nominated six people for the job. In addition to Mathew, they were: Bryan P. Biedscheid, 44, of the Sawtell, Wirth and Biedscheid law firm in Santa Fe; Sonya Carrasco-Trujillo, 37, deputy counsel for the state Department of Public Safety, staff judge advocate for the New Mexico Army National Guard and a judge pro-tem at Santa Fe Municipal Court; Paul William Grace, 59, of the Hemphill & Grace law firm in Santa Fe and a veteran of law firms in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Washington; B. Cullen Hallmark, 54, of Garber and Hallmark firm in Santa Fe; and Joseph Edward Manges, 56, a partner at the Santa Fe firm of Comeau, Maldegen, Templeman and Indall.
Mathew is the former husband of federal District Judge Martha Vázquez.