Governor Susana Martinez on Monday announced the University of New Mexico’s newest regent, former State Representative Conrad James, who will replace Don Chalmers.
“Conrad James is an outstanding public servant and has demonstrated a valuable knowledge of the University of New Mexico and the Albuquerque community,” Martinez said. “I am confident that he will help to guide the university to new levels of success.”
Chalmers resigned from the board on Jan. 7 to make way for a faster appointment of a replacement, he said Monday. Although his term expired at the end of 2012, Chalmers would not have been replaced until the governor chose a new regent and the state Senate confirmed that person. That process can takes months, and Chalmers, who was appointed in 2005, said he didn’t want to wait.
“I’ve been on this seven years and very frankly my opinion is that there’s a lot of very talented people out there and it’s just time for somebody else to do that,” Chalmers said.
With Chalmers’ resignation, James can begin serving immediately as an acting regent instead of waiting to be confirmed by the Senate. The Senate would still eventually have to confirm him.
James received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Cornell University.
James, a Republican, formerly represented Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights before being defeated by Democrat Elizabeth Thomson in November.
Terms for regent Carolyn Abeita and student regent Jake Wellman also expired in December, but they will both serve until their replacement is confirmed by the Senate. Already, governor Susana Martinez has appointed medical student Heidi Overton to replace Wellman. Abeita’s replacement has not been announced.
More in tomorrow’s Journal.