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Governor nominates lawyer for regent position at NNMC

SANTA FE, N.M. — Las Cruces attorney Damian Martinez is the governor’s nomination for one of two soon-to-be vacant positions on the Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents.

Before it becomes official, the 42-year-old Las Vegas, NM, native’s nomination will have to be ratified by the state Legislature, which begins a 60-day session on Jan. 20.

Martinez was one of several nominees for regent positions at New Mexico colleges and universities Gov. Susana Martinez announced earlier this week.

“The individuals I am nominating today come from a variety of backgrounds and are well-suited to help manage our state’s universities,” the governor said in a news release on Monday. “They will provide thorough financial oversight and planning for these institutions, and I am confident they will adopt reforms designed to graduate our students more quickly and prepare them for the workforce New Mexico needs.”

Damian Martinez is a managing director with the Holt, Mynatt, Martinez, P.C., a Las Cruces law firm he has been affiliated with since 2005. He was named Southwest Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2012 and was among the Top 40 Litigation Lawyers under 40 as named by the American Society of Legal Advocates.

Prior to that, he served as special assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico and Northern District of Texas, and assistant staff judge advocate while a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

He earned his undergraduate degree in social work from New Mexico Highland University in 1998, then a juris doctorate from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Martinez, who is no relation to Gov. Susana Martinez, is expected to fill one of two positions on NNMC’s Board of Regents. The terms of current regents Michael Branch and Alfred Herrera expire Dec. 31.

If ratified by the Legislature, Martinez would serve a six-year term. The other position will be filled by a student regent serving a two-year term, something New Mexico voters approved as a constitutional amendment during the November general election.

Applications for the student regent position were due Dec. 16. NNMC President Nancy “Rusty” Barcel√≥ is to provide a list of student regent nominees to the governor for her consideration.