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Arnold-Jones appointed to open City Council seat

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones was appointed to the City Council on Monday and immediately said she would seek election to the seat this fall.

Arnold-Jones, a Republican, was appointed by Mayor Richard Berry shortly before Monday’s council meeting to fill the unexpired term of Michael Cook, who resigned 10 days ago after his arrest on a driving-while-intoxicated charge.

Berry, also a former Republican state House member, described Arnold-Jones as “one of the great minds of the Legislature.” She will represents District 7 on the council, covering Uptown and some of the Northeast Heights.

“I’ve seen Janice’s passion for transparency and good government,” Berry said as he introduced her.

Arnold-Jones said she will bring a detail-oriented approach to the job. One of her key principles, she said, is that “the people have a right to know” about their government.

“I am looking forward to moving this city forward,” Arnold-Jones said. “It is a gem — not only in the state of New Mexico but in our nation.”

Arnold-Jones, who served four terms in the state Legislature, ran for the 1st District congressional seat last year, but was defeated by Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham. The seat became vacant when Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, decided to make his successful bid for U.S. Senate.

Arnold-Jones said she plans to seek election to the City Council seat in October. District 7 is expected to be a tough race as a key focus of Democrats who want to win back a majority on the nine-member council.

Diane Gibson, a Democrat and former machinist at Sandia National Laboratories, already is running.

Arnold-Jones, 61, is a former contractor to Sandia.

Council President Dan Lewis welcomed her to the council.

“Janice brings experience in public policy and a deep commitment to public service,” he said in an interview.

Monday’s appointment is Berry’s second to the council. In December, the mayor appointed Roxanna Meyers, also a Republican, to replace Debbie O’Malley, a Democrat who won election to the County Commission.

The opportunity for a second appointment arose unexpectedly, when Cook, a Republican, resigned earlier this month after an arrest on suspicion of DWI. Cook’s lawyer said he will plead not guilty.

The city election is Oct. 8. It’s officially non-partisan, meaning there are no primary elections and party affiliation doesn’t appear on the ballot.

A candidate must get 50 percent of the vote in the October election to win office outright. Otherwise, the top two candidates compete in a runoff election the following month.

Republicans hold a 6-3 majority on the council now.

Besides Cook’s old district, another seat expected to draw a particularly tough race is District 2, where Meyers was appointed.

Councilor Isaac Benton, a Democrat who now lives in District 2 because of redistricting, plans to run against Meyers.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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