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Taos Mayor Dan Barrone chosen for House seat

SANTA FE – Taos Mayor Dan Barrone is the newest member of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The Taos County Commission, in a 4-1 vote on Monday, chose Barrone for the House District 42 seat recently vacated by Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, according to County Manager Brent Jaramillo.

This month, Gonzales was appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to fill the Senate District 6 seat formerly held by Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, who died of a heart attack in September.

Dan Barrone

Barrone was one of five people who applied for the House vacancy. Among the other candidates was Mark Gallegos, the County Commission chairman and mayor of Questa.

But Gallegos was among the four commissioners who voted for Barrone on Monday. Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell cast the lone dissenting vote.

Barrone, owner of Olguin’s Sawmill, is in his second term as mayor, a position he can retain while serving in the Legislature. The Taos News reported that Barrone said at Monday’s meeting that he would continue as mayor while holding the House seat.

House District 42 consists only of Taos County territory, so the county commission is empowered to fill vacancies for the district House seat. In cases where a legislative district crosses county lines, county commissions nominate candidates to fill a vacancy and the governor makes the appointment.

The other applicants for the seat were Kristina Ortez, director of the Taos Land Trust the past six years; F.R. Bob Romero, a former Taos school board member; and Thomas Tafoya, a local business owner who once served on the Taos school board.

Ortez also applied to fill Cisneros’ Senate seat, losing out when the governor chose Gonzales. She has announced that she will be a candidate for the House 42 position in the June Democratic primary.

Under his appointment approved by the County Commission Monday, Barrone holds the House seat through the end of 2020. He will have to run for the District 42 seat in 2020 to continue in the position. He could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.