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Las Cruces representative is new chair of state House Appropriations Committee

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State Rep. Nathan Small, a Las Cruces Democrat, is the new chair of the powerful Appropriations and Finance Committee in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Small was named chair Jan. 17, as the legislature convened in Santa Fe for a 60-day session. He replaces Patricia Lundstrom, D-McKinley, San Juan.

As chair, Small will guide passage of the largest budget in state history, estimated to be about $12 billion, an increase of more than 40 percent from last year’s budget.

Small was elected to represent House District 36, which is located entirely in Doña Ana County, in 2016, and re-elected in 2018, 2020 and 2022. He previously served eight years on the Las Cruces City Council.

Other Doña Ana County state representatives and senators also have powerful committee assignments. In the House, State Rep. Michaela Lara Cadena is vice chair of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee; Rep. Joanne Ferrary is chair of Consumer and Public Affairs; Rep. Doreen Gallegos is chair of Commerce and Economic Development; Rep. Ray Lara is chair of the House Democratic Caucus and, along with Rep. Willie Madrid, is a member of the House Education Committee; Rep. Angelica Rubio is vice chair of Consumer and Public Affairs. State Rep. Tara Jaramillo (Socorro, Sierra, Doña Ana), first elected last November, is a member of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee; Rep. Jenifer Jones (Luna, Hidalgo, Doña Ana), also first elected in November, is a member of the House Health and Human Services and the Transportation, Public Works and Capital Improvements committees.

State Sen. Joseph Cervantes is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Sen. Bill Soules is chair of Senate Education and the interim Legislative Education Study Committee; Sen. Jeff Steinborn is chair of the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee and a member of Senate Finance; Sen. Carrie Hamblen is vice chair of Tax, Business and Transportation; Sen. Ron Griggs (Otero, Doña Ana) is ranking member of Indian, Rural and Cultural Affairs; state Sen. Crystal Diamond (Sierra, Luna, Hidalgo, Doña Ana) is a member of Senate Finance.

Small, Cadena, Ferrary, Gallegos, Lara, Madrid, Rubio, Jaramillo, Cervantes, Soules, Steinborn and Hamblen are Democrats. Jones, Griggs and Diamond are Republicans. They are all from Las Cruces except Lara who lives in Chamberino; Madrid, Chaparral; Jaramillo, Socorro; Jones, Deming; Griggs, Alamogordo; and Diamond, who lives on a ranch near Elephant Butte in Sierra County.