The Los Alamos County Council met on May 17 to choose from among seven people who put their names forward for the Council's recommendation for appointment as District 43 Representative. After hearing each of our statements (mine below) and listening to an intensive question and answer session, they chose Councilor Jim Hall, who was later appointed by Governor Martinez to the position. I have congratulated Jim and said that I will work with him to keep Los Alamos County in a single legislative district in the coming statewide re-districting.

Statement to Los Alamos County Council: Recommendation for Appointment as District 43 Representative

May 17, 2011

Madame Chair and Los Alamos County Councilors: When you recommend a person to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Representative Jeannette Wallace, I urge you to consider who can best represent all the people of this district. I first came here in 1986, and I feel privileged to have been able to make a scientific career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and to make this town my home. I have been active in the community and in politics, often in bi-partisan efforts such as nuclear arms control. Since 2008 I have served on the Planning and Zoning Commission. We have dealt with some contentious issues on P&Z, where we try to use the discretion allowed in the county's P&Z code to balance the goals of the community and the rights of individual property owners. One indication of our success at finding that balance is that none of our decisions have been overturned on appeal to you, the County Council. I have offered ideas to the Charter Review Committee. I recently went down to a North Central Regional Transit District board meeting to support the Council's efforts to keep our bus system healthy. I told them there is good support in this county for rapid transit, but we need to see the NCRTD run in a transparent, fair, and efficient way, if that support is to continue.

I was a candidate for my party's nomination to run against Representative Wallace in 2010. I talked with many, many voters across the district in that campaign. Voters in this county and this district are not overly partisan: in numbers alone, we're almost equally Republican or Democrat, and we have a large number of independents and others. Representative Wallace was re-elected many times here because she showed people she could listen, she had a balanced perspective, and she would stand up for our best interests. Like her, my politics are pragmatic and focused on solutions. I will continue to support the best public education we can get for this county. I will continue to support Juvenile Justice Advisory Boards in this county and across the state, where some small investments can save young people from going down the wrong path. I will continue to support transparency in government and political campaigns. Of course there are issues on which you and I might disagree; but I think we all do agree on priorities for this district, such as education and good government. And I think we do agree that a representative needs to find common ground among the voters he represents, and then find common ground within state government, in order to get things done.

The most important issue that will be faced by the new representative this year is redistricting. I will do everything I can to keep Los Alamos County in a single House district, and I will work to undo the gerrymandering of this county into three strips for three separate state senators.

In short, I feel I can represent the interests of all the people of this district effectively. Rather than making this decision in a partisan way, I urge you to recommend someone like myself who is close to the political center of this district. Thank you.