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The Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents has selected outgoing New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas as the new president of the Rio Arriba County institution.
Balderas was unanimously selected at Thursday night’s board meeting, according to Barbara Medina, NNMC president. Negotiations for his starting date and salary are scheduled to take place next week, Medina said.
Medina, whose contract ends Dec. 31, has been serving as president since the previous president, Rick Bailey, left in January. Medina said she will work with Balderas and the board of regents on a transition plan.
“I’m inspired that the community was involved in the selection process – they have hope for change, and I am honored that the regents, faculty and staff will partner with me as we take Northern New Mexico College into the future, building on student success and institutional development,” Balderas said in a Friday news release.
NNMC is a four-year college with 1,093 enrolled students, according to a fall 2022 enrollment report from the institution. It has campuses in Española and El Rito.
“We are very excited to have President Balderas with us, wish him the best and welcome him into our family,” Michael Martin, board president of NNMC, said in a release from the college.
Balderas will finish his attorney general term, which ends Dec. 31, before assuming the position.
He was barred by the state Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as attorney general and will be succeeded by Democrat Raúl Torrez in January.
Balderas, who is also a Democrat, was one of four finalists for the position of president. The others were: Patricia Trujillo, deputy secretary of the state’s Higher Education Department; Bruno Hicks, vice president of academic affairs at Dalton State College in Georgia; and David Johns, president of Ferrum College in Virginia
Balderas has a bachelor of arts in political science from New Mexico Highlands University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico Law School.
Before being elected as New Mexico’s attorney general in 2014, he served two terms as New Mexico’s state auditor. He also spent two-plus years representing New Mexico District 68 in the state House.