State senators push for new regent selection process - Albuquerque Journal

State senators push for new regent selection process

Jeff Steinborn

Two state senators are pushing to depoliticize the selection of university regents — a process that frequently bogs down in the Legislature.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, have sponsored a constitutional amendment calling for the creation of a bipartisan nomination committee to evaluate regents candidates. The committee would come up with a list of potential regents and forward it the governor, who would make the final selections.

Mark Moores

Currently, the governor alone is responsible for choosing all regents besides the student representative, although the Senate then votes on confirmation.

Steinborn argues that the proposed nomination committee would open up the job to a broader range of candidates.

“I do recognize we have some very good regents and have through the years, but it has also been treated as just a political plum job for some people who clearly have no basis in higher education,” Steinborn said. “We want to make sure we have the best people leading our higher education institutions.”

Moores said he hopes the new system would put an end to the frequent political clashes between the Legislature and governor during the confirmation process.

Gov. Susana Martinez is still trying to get 11 university regents confirmed after months of delays. In total, nearly 70 appointees to various boards and commissions are awaiting a decision from the Senate Rules Committee.

The logjam “doesn’t serve any of the universities and doesn’t serve the state,” Moores said.

“I want to come up with a better system that gets people with merit, not political connections, on these boards of regents so they can be run efficiently,” he said.

Under the proposed amendment, no more than half of the nominating committee members would come from the same political party.

The plan isn’t new — Steinborn has taken on regent selection practices annually for the past several years.

But Steinborn said he thinks the amendment could make it through the Legislature this time and finally get on the ballot.

A growing number of lawmakers are supportive, including some who opposed previous incarnations of the proposal, Steinborn said.

Moores, in fact, was in that camp, but Steinborn made some changes to the amendment and won his backing.

“Sen. Steinborn is very tenacious,” Moores said. “I think this is the time to do it.”

With Martinez entering the last year of her tenure, the amendment would go into effect at the beginning of a new administration if it wins approval from lawmakers and voters.

Similar regent nomination committees have been successful in other states, according to a 2008 Michigan State University study.

The paper — titled “The Relationship Between Selection Processes of Public Trustees and State Higher Education Performance” — notes that top-performing states require regents to meet certain qualifications and have systems in place to scrutinize their fitness for the job.

New Mexico was rated among the five lowest-performing states.

“There is no evidence of clear qualifications or scrutiny among the bottom-performing states,” the study says.

Home » News » New Mexico News » State senators push for new regent selection process


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Oil and gas firm is No. 3 mid-size company ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Ezra Yacob, CEO of ... Q&A with Ezra Yacob, CEO of EOG Resources ...
2
Electrical company is No. 3 large company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
B&D Industries is the No. 3 ... B&D Industries is the No. 3 large company in Top Workplaces for 2022.
3
School is No. 2 small employer in Top Workplaces ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Aldis Philipbar, development director ... Q&A with Aldis Philipbar, development director at Amy Biehl High School.
4
School is No. 2 mid-size employer in Top Workplaces ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Patricia Beecher, superintendent at ... Q&A with Patricia Beecher, superintendent at New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
5
Financial services firm is No. 2 large company in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Leean Kravitz, vice president ... Q&A with Leean Kravitz, vice president of governmental relations and regional co-site leader at Fidelity Investments
6
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi to be ...
ABQnews Seeker
Parishes will chip in to cover ... Parishes will chip in to cover the payments on the debt
7
Biden signs landmark gun measure, says 'lives will be ...
ABQnews Seeker
President Joe Biden on Saturday signed ... President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series ...
8
Pâtisserie opens storefront location in Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
For the past two years, the ... For the past two years, the pastries of Blue Door Pâtisserie could be found displayed inside glass cases at Albuquerque’s Sawmill Market near Old ...
9
Home builder is No. 1 small company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Abrazo Homes may be a newer ... Abrazo Homes may be a newer homebuilder for the New Mexico community, but the company's employees say it has already established a great team ...