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Retired lawyer, educator appointed to state House

Bernalillo County commissioners on Tuesday appointed Democrat Marian Matthews, a retired lawyer and educator, to replace Rep. Bill Pratt in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Marian Matthews is sworn in on Tuesday after the Bernalillo County Commission picked her to replace Rep. Bill Pratt, who died Christmas night. Holding the Bible is City Councilor Pat Davis. (Anthony Jackson/Albuquerque Journal)

Pratt, a Democrat, died Christmas night. He represented House District 27, which covers part of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, including neighborhoods along Academy NE.

Matthews’ term will last until Dec. 31, 2020.

Matthews, a former deputy attorney general in New Mexico, has worked at Central New Mexico Community College, teaching business law, among other classes.

She has been a prosecutor and represented children removed from their homes, in addition to helping to build a law firm specializing in complex business litigation.

Matthews told county commissioners she wants to address Albuquerque’s “violence and crime.”

“We are safer when we invest in programs that reduce addiction, family dysfunction and violence,” Matthews said. “As a legislator, I want to work with this commission and the City Council to build our behavioral health system.”

Hoping to receive the appointment were eight applicants with unique backgrounds in activism, public service and entrepreneurship. Two of the eight applicants – Robert Godshall, a Republican, and Ronald Krise, a Democrat – have run for House District 27. Krise ran unsuccessfully in 2012 and 2016 against Republican Larry Larrañaga . Godshall ran against Pratt in 2018 and was defeated by 193 votes.

Matthews said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s funding agenda will be her priority at the start of the 2020 Legislative session.

“It’s hard to say what’s the most important, but clearly, we have to invest in our kids, our people, and we have to deal with our crime problem and create jobs,” Matthews said. “We have to balance them, but they’re all really important.”

Commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of Matthews’ appointment,and she was sworn in after the special commission meeting.