The Senate has confirmed Gov. Susana Martinez's reappointment of three members of the New Mexico State Game Commission: Farmington businessman Robert Espinoza Sr., Albuquerque attorney Paul Kienzle and former state Department of Game and Fish director William O. Montoya.
Espinoza's term will end Dec. 31, 2015. The terms of Montoya and Las Cruces pecan farmer Thomas "Dickie" Salopek expire at the end of 2013. Rancher Scott P. Bidegain, who also is on the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association board, will serve on the commission until Dec. 31, 2014. Kienzle, who was Gov. Susana Martinez's campaign committee attorney, serves until Dec. 31, 2015.
Tom Arvas, an Albuquerque optometrist, has served under five administrations. According to the commission's website, his term expired Dec. 31, 2011, but nobody could be reached to explain why he is still listed as a member.
By law, the commission is supposed to include members from both parties. Currently, four are Republicans and two -- Arvas and Salopek -- are Democrats. Bidegain represents ranchers and farmers on the board. Montoya is on the board filling the conservation position.
Gov. Martinez now must select a replacement for State Game Commission Chairman Jim McClintic, who died of cancer Feb. 15. McClintic, appointed to the Game Commission in 2007 by Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson, had served as chairman since 2009. Martinez, a Republican, kept McClintic on the commission after she took office, although she replaced three others on the board.
The Game Commission approves hunting, angling and trapping rules in New Mexico and oversees policies of the Department of Game and Fish.
The commission meets periodically at different places in the state. The next meeting is scheduled March 21 at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque.
The Department of Game and Fish is charged with managing game and fish, helping protect threatened and endangered species, enforcing hunting and fishing laws, and overseeing an off-road vehicle program. The department derives most of its budget from hunting and fishing licenses.
For more information: www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
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