Nominating panel for the PRC gets seventh member

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Jul. 6—Rep. Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, chose Denise Ramonas as the seventh member of a newly created nominating committee that will review and forward candidates to the governor for appointment to the refashioned state Public Regulation Commission.

Ramonas, who most recently served as the first female chief clerk of the state House of Representatives, previously worked for former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici.

According to a biography provided by House Republican spokesman Matthew Garcia-Sierra, Ramonas worked as a lawyer in Utah in a case similar to the proposed merger between PNM and Avangrid.

The other six members of the new committee are House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe; former state Rep. Alonzo Baldonado; Cydney Beadles, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit Western Resource Advocates; Ron Lovato, a former two-term governor of Ohkay Owingeh who serves on the New Mexico Finance Authority board; Rikki Seguin, executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance; and William Brancard, hearings bureau chief for the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, members of her executive staff and legislative leaders from both major parties chose the seven members of the nominating committee.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, the five-member PRC, once an elected body, will consist of three members who are appointed by the governor. The governor will select those members from a list of at least five nominees compiled by the committee by Sept. 1.

Commissioners will require the confirmation of the state Senate. No more than two commissioners may be members of the same party, and will serve staggered, six-year terms. Members will be to two terms.

Under state law, the unpaid nominating committee members must have knowledge about utility regulation and can't be employed by a utility company or have an interest in being on the commission.

New Mexico voters decided in 2020 to overhaul the PRC following a series of controversies over the years.