Governor Susana Martinez today appointed Vickie Perea, a Republican and a former Albuquerque city councilor, to fill the open State House of Representatives seat held until recently by Stephen Easley.
In a statement, Martinez praised Perea as a "passionate public servant who will bring a fresh voice to the Legislature." Although Perea is a Republican, she used to be a Democrat, which could help her build bridges in a district that elected a Democrat for the House seat in last year's election.
"She is capable of working across party lines and is well-qualified to help craft public policy that will benefit New Mexico's economy, schools and families," Martinez says in a press release.
Perea's appointment narrows Democratic Party control of the House to a 37-33 advantage. She'll represent the politically diverse House District 50, which includes parts of Santa Fe County, Bernalillo County, Valencia County and Torrence County, through 2014.
She was one of three names put forward by the four county commissions that recently recommended replacements for Easley to Martinez. The others were Ann A. Jenkins, a Democrat and retired information consultant, and Leroy Candelaria, a Republican.
Aside from her work on Albuquerque's city council, Perea has previously served as a regent for Trinity International University, a vice chair of the Unification Charter Commission for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County and a board member of New Mexico First. She also ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2012, losing to Democrat Clemente Sanchez.
Easley died unexpectedly in August of what friends and family members described as complications due to an infection.