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Editorial: Ethics picks set standard

The bar has been set.

New Mexico Democratic legislators who got to pick two members of the state’s newly minted ethics commission showed good judgment by selecting well-respected professionals instead of party toadies.

The reputations of good-government advocate Frances Williams – chosen by Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen – and attorney Stuart Bluestone – chosen by House Speaker Brian Egolf – lend hope that the board will rise to its vital mission.

Rep. James Townsend and Sen. Stuart Ingle, both Republicans and minority floor leaders in their chambers, will each get a choice, as will Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat. The four legislative picks will then choose two more members to get to seven. Those appointments will play a crucial role in how effectively this body actually works. Selecting overt partisan operators – consider the presence of longtime political operatives Alan Packman, a Democrat, and Ryan Cangiolosi, a Republican, on Bernalillo County’s Code of Conduct Review Board – makes it tougher to believe decisions are based on merit and not politics.

So to the governor, Townsend and Ingle and their picks, and to Williams and Bluestone: Let’s see the good faith continue.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.