News Column

NM Elected Officials Get Committee Assignments

Dec 13, 2012

Steve Terrell

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., learned Wednesday that he likely will serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee in the next Congress. Meanwhile, Senate newcomer Martin Heinrich will keep a New Mexico presence on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of Santa Fe will be assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"A seat on the Appropriations Committee is very meaningful for New Mexico," Udall said in a new release. "From the labs, to the military bases and our public lands, we have a large federal presence in our state. I have no illusions about the difficult economic times and budgetary constraints our nation is facing, and I am eager to do my best and defend New Mexico through the appropriations."

Udall also received assignments to the Foreign Relations, Environmental and Public Works, Indian Affairs, and the Rules and Administration committees.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee currently is chaired by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who did not seek re-election this year. Before Bingaman took over that committee, it was chaired by another New Mexico senator, Republican Pete Domenici, who retired at the end of 2008.

Heinrich, an Albuquerque Democrat currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, also was named to the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Joint Economic Committee.

These were the choices of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee, which are subject to approval by the full Democratic caucus, followed by approval of an organizing resolution by the full Senate when the 113th Congress convenes next month.

The House Democratic Steering Committee named Lujan to the Energy and Commerce panel.

"This opportunity will enable me to build on my work, not only over the past few years in Congress on issues from consumer protection to energy, but on my past efforts as a member of the [state] Public Regulation Commission," Lujan said in a statement. "New Mexico is poised to be a leader in a clean energy economy, and this assignment will provide New Mexico with an important voice in the discussion of how we move forward toward this critical goal."

The committee deals with issues in the areas of telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.

Source: (c)2012 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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