Editorial: Sen. Lopez hurts UNM, state by delaying hearings - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Sen. Lopez hurts UNM, state by delaying hearings

Although she has decried a lack of diversity in state government – especially on the governing boards of state colleges and universities – state Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Linda Lopez spent the 2017 legislative session obstructing an effort to place a well-respected Hispanic on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Now the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce wants to know why.

Lopez, D-Albuquerque, has never even attempted to hold a confirmation hearing on Alex O. Romero’s nomination to the seven-member UNM panel. She has blamed the delay in vetting Romero – and nearly a dozen other nominees – on funding problems and time constraints involving background checks. Last week, Hispano chamber Chairman Rudy Beserra invited Lopez to a forum to explain “how our own Hispanic leaders are held back from serving in important positions such as the UNM Board of Regents.” Lopez declined the invitation.

For someone who used a Senate floor debate in March to decry “institutional racism” in state agencies and the lack of diversity on the boards of regents of colleges, that’s a missed opportunity.

Well, unless you’re using your chairmanship to curry favor with your party, advance your political career and carry out a vendetta against the woman who won the governorship you lost.

Payback might play well with some of Lopez’s Democratic colleagues, but it’s ultimately depriving UNM of an opportunity to hear a Hispanic voice at a time the university is dealing with budget cuts, searching for a new president and, hopefully, bringing some needed fiscal discipline to its athletics program.

In general, gubernatorial appointees go first to Senate Rules. Once the committee votes, whether for or against, the nominee goes to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. There’s little question Romero, whose 12-year tenure as president of the Hispano Chamber ends Friday, is well known and well qualified for the job, having had a 35-year banking career before starting at the chamber in 2004. It strains credibility to believe Lopez couldn’t find time during this year’s 60-day legislative session to check the Taos native’s background and hold a hearing.

Lopez trumpeted in March, “… there are many qualified people that can be sitting in positions of management and making decisions for our community and such, and we’re not doing that.” Every journey starts with a step, and Lopez’s self-professed vision on diversity requires her to take the first one. Romero joins 10 others awaiting Senate confirmation, including eight university regents or trustees. It is past time to curb the partisanship, put the state first and give the governor’s nominees their hearings and votes. Their confirmations should be the choice of the full Senate, not a rogue senator.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

Home » Opinion » Editorials » Editorial: Sen. Lopez hurts UNM, state by delaying hearings


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Editorial: Try a staycation to help New Mexico's fire-ravaged ...
Editorials
New Mexicans are not far removed ... New Mexicans are not far removed from making conscious financial choices to help neighbors in a time ...
2
Editorial: ABQ’s Downtown police OT scheme like TV mob ...
Editorials
It sounds a lot like a ... It sounds a lot like a deal they can't refuse: Pay police a little extra and they'll pro ...
3
Editorial: Forest Service must take its missteps and health ...
Editorials
An 85-page U.S. Forest Service review ... An 85-page U.S. Forest Service review of the origins of the Hermits Peak Fire suggests the biggest w ...
4
Editorial: Vietnamese war baby an inspiring US ambassador
Editorials
Rio Rancho's Tina Diep is truly ... Rio Rancho's Tina Diep is truly a humanitarian ambassador. The daughter of a ...
5
Editorial: Diplomas need to mean students are ready for ...
Editorials
Algebra II may not be for ... Algebra II may not be for everyone, but practically every job these days requires some math, from pl ...
6
Editorial: What does fighting wildfires have to do with ...
Editorials
We're puzzled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ... We're puzzled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is using the wildfires raging across New Mexico as t ...
7
Editorial: Pot lawsuit shows need for federal-level clarity
Editorials
New Mexico medical insurers are in ... New Mexico medical insurers are in a Catch-22. On the one hand, marijuana remains ...
8
Editorial: Otero commissioners disregarded voters
Editorials
When it came time last week ... When it came time last week to put up or shut up, Otero County's three commissioners had no ca ...
9
Editorial: Credit where due for public servants rising to ...
Editorials
Solutions are, by definition, reactive. After ... Solutions are, by definition, reactive. After all, you can't have a solution without a problem ...