Democrat Ray Powell, a primary candidate for commissioner of public lands this year, picked up endorsements from three Doña Ana County lawmakers on Monday.
Sen. Steve Fischmann and representatives Jeff Steinborn and Nate Cote said they will back Powell “because of his commitment to reforming the State Land Office and re-establishing an and open and transparent administration.”
“Ray Powell is the reform candidate,” Sen. Fischmann said. “He’s who I trust. It’s no question that we need him back at the Land Office.”
“The stakes are high. With Ray, he’ll bring much needed stability back to the Land Office,” Steinborn said. “He’s ethical, principled and knows how to work with communities to maximize the dollars returned to the land office and ultimately our schools.”
“When Ray Powell served as land commissioner, he was recognized for running one of the best land management agencies in the country,” Cote said. “Right now, the Land Office is in crisis, and we are desperately in need of leadership we can trust.”
Ray Powell, a veterinarian, who previously served as land commissioner from 1993-2002, is currently employed as a regional director for the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research Education and Conservation in the western United States, said “these legislators have been instrumental in exposing the behind-the-scene deals happening at the Land Office.”
“I’m eager to clean the place up. I look forward to working with these outstanding leaders to ensure real reform is enacted to protect our public lands and the significant revenues they generate for our public schools, universities, and hospitals,” Powell said after receiving the endorsements.
Earlier this month, Jones, who is currently a Public Regulation Commissioner, was endorsed by the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Union, New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 611, Iron Workers Local 490, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 412 and Lordsburg Mayor Arthur Clark Smith.
Four Republicans are also running in the primary, including oilman Spirio Vassilopoulos, Jim Jackson, who took a leave of absence from the land office to campaign for the post; cattle rancher Matt Rush; and GOP activist Bob Cornelius.