Rio Rancho’s rookie legislators officially started their new jobs this week by taking their oaths of office at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
Sen. Craig Brandt, a Republican, was elected in November to represent the newly redrawn District 40, which covers a portion of northern Rio Rancho and a small part of western Bernalillo.
Rep. Jason Harper, also a Republican, was elected to House District 57, another of the new district designations created by redistricting plans in 2011.
The district covers a broad area of northern and central Rio Rancho.
Brandt is a former Rio Rancho School Board vice president who has said he will focus on improving education and increasing economic opportunities for his district. He has been assigned to the Education and Public Affairs committees.
Harper is an engineer at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. He has been assigned to three House committees: Taxation and Revenue, Voters and Elections and Enrolling and Engrossing.
Education, jobs and revising the state’s tax codes are his priorities, according to an emailed statement.
Senate District 40 and House District 57 were created to give more representation to Rio Rancho which saw its population increase by 69 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
— This article appeared on page 19 of the Albuquerque Journal