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Tara Lujan picked to represent HD 48

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – House District 48 has a new representative – at least for a little while.

The Santa Fe County Commission on Thursday appointed Tara Lujan, human resources director of the state Treasury Office, as the new state representative for District 48, which covers most of Santa Fe’s downtown, Eastside and northern part of the city.

After interviewing each applicant, commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of Lujan’s appointment, with Commissioner Ed Moreno casting the only opposing vote.

Lujan will fill the seat vacated by Linda Trujillo, who announced July 9 she would resign due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trujillo works as an attorney for the Walsh Gallegos law firm and served as a representative since 2017.

Commissioner Anna Hamilton, before making a motion to appoint Lujan, said it was important that the new representative make the Legislature a more diverse governing body.

“We have an opportunity to keep some of the changes New Mexico has been making: making the Legislature more diverse and more inclusive,” Hamilton said. “You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different outcome.”

Lujan, never before elected to public office, highlighted her work with other elected officials in New Mexico, including U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. She previously ran for Santa Fe County clerk in 2012.

During her interview with commissioners, Lujan said health care, renewable energy and tax reform were among her top priorities as a legislator.

She beat out four other applicants for the position: Timothy Garcia, former judge for the Court of Appeals; Paul Campos, a former county commissioner who previously ran for the District 48 seat; Frances Salas, an educator who highlighted her work in the Legislature; and Greg Sonnenfeld, an engineer and political organizer.

Exactly how long Lujan will remain a representative or if she’ll ever be able to vote in a legislative session is unclear.

While the commission appointed Lujan to fill the seat, the Santa Fe County Democrat’s Central Committee will decide who replaces Trujillo on the ballot in November, which may or may not be Lujan. Lujan said she is a former member of the Central Committee and has long organized for the party in the county.

No member of another party can run, because no one besides Trujillo declared their candidacy prior to the state primary elections in June.

Lujan could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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