Newly Appointed Sen. Ted Barela
SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez announced Friday the appointment of Ted Barela to fill the vacancy in Senate District 39 created by the resignation of former Sen. Phil Griego.
Griego represented a portion of Los Alamos prior to redistricting. He resigned in March after drawing scrutiny for his involvement in the real estate transaction of a state-owned building in Santa Fe. He was one of several lawmakers who approved the sale of the building after which he was hired to manage the sale.
Barela was recommended by the Torrance County Commission. He is a project manager for Bohannan Huston, Inc., and served as mayor of Estancia from 2008 to 2013. He is a lifelong New Mexican and resident of Torrance County.
“I have great confidence that Ted will work hard to represent the residents of District 39 well and believe he’s committed to working with legislators from both parties to diversify our economy and improve our schools,” Martinez said.
Martinez also announced two appointments to the University of New Mexico Board Of Regents.
The Governor has reappointed Jamie Koch, a long-time regent who has shown strong leadership in financial oversight and has championed reforms designed to increase the number of graduates at the university and decrease the number of years it takes students to earn their degree. He previously served as a state legislator and was an original author of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.
Koch is the former president of Daniels Insurance and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of New Mexico. During the recently completed legislative session, Koch resigned from the board, expressing his strong objection to the Senate majority’s partisan and political attacks on another qualified and talented regent nominee. Koch, a former Democratic Party chair, had been confirmed by the Senate unanimously.
“I understand and respect just how frustrated Regent Koch was with the despicable, partisan games that were played by leaders in the Senate during the session, and he should be commended for his courage and forthrightness,” Martinez said. “Regent Koch is an experienced and talented leader, and I firmly believe that he will be a strong servant on the university’s governing board as they seek to increase our graduation rate and prepare a stronger workforce in New Mexico. He’s the right person for this position, and that’s why I’ve chosen to reappoint him.”
The Governor has appointed Marron Lee, a former Assistant United States Attorney and legislative assistant to Senator Pete V. Domenici, to the Board of Regents as well.
Lee’s family has been closely tied to the history of the University of New Mexico. Her great-grandmother Frances Halloran Marron, after whom Marron Hall was named, was a 1901 graduate of UNM who served as one of the first female regents at the university from 1931 to 1933. Her grandmother, Frances Marron Lee, was also a regent in the 1940s. Lee’s grandfather, father, aunt, and husband are all graduates of the university.
Lee and her husband, Mike Nelson, are members of the Tom Popejoy Society. The Lee Family owns a well-known ranch in Cibola County. Lee and her family have worked to establish scholarships at the university and are proud supporters of Lobo athletics. She worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office from 2001 to 2004 prosecuting cases related to violent crime, and abuse and neglect of children on tribal lands in New Mexico.
Lee started her legal career in New Mexico as a prosecutor in the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in 1998. Lee also served on Sen. Pete Domenici’s Washington, D.C. staff from 1989 to 1995. She has served on the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation and the Albuquerque Museum Foundation Boards of Directors and as a parents’ association vice-president at Manzano Day School. Lee also serves as chair of both the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission and the New Mexico Sentencing Commission.
“I am excited to appoint Marron as a regent at the University of New Mexico, where she will be able to continue her family’s legacy of effective service to the institution and our state,” Martinez said.“I know Marron well, and I believe she will bring a reform-minded approach to the university; she’s tough but fair, and will work tirelessly to ensure the education our students receive at UNM is exactly what they need to succeed in the workforce and in life.”