Wooley to fill vacant state House seat

January 16, 2011 • Local News

Bob Wooley, of Roswell, was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez to fill a vacant legislative position in the state House of Representatives on Friday. Wooley will represent District 66, which covers parts of Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties.

The post was vacated by House Minority Whip Keith Gardner, a Roswell Republican who became the governor’s chief of staff. “I was pleasantly surprised,” Wooley, 63, said. He added, “I’m excited, but I don’t think it has set in quite yet.” The Chaves County Board of Commissioners recommended Wooley to fill the position on Thursday, Jan. 13, at the urging of Gardner.

The state constitution requires [auth] that county commissions in the legislative districts recommend candidates to be appointed by the governor. Artesia Public Schools Superintendent Mike Phipps, of Eddy County, and Matt Rush, of Roosevelt County, were also considered for the position. Gov. Martinez said in a press release that she is eager to work with Wooley and Bill Burt, of Alamogordo, another new appointee who will serve as senator from Senate District 40.

“As we work to rebuild our economy, pass a balanced budget, and empower small businesses to start hiring again, it’s important that New Mexicans are represented by legislators with real-world experience and common sense.

I look forward to working with Mr. Burt and Mr. Wooley to create policies that get our state back on track and create a brighter future for New Mexico’s families and businesses,” Gov. Martinez wrote in a statement. The governor tapped Wooley after a quick interview, Thursday, in the Roswell Convention and Civic Center after a ribboncutting ceremony.

“What a thrill to sit down and visit with her,” Wooley said. “She’s an awesome lady, and I am so looking forward to working with her.” Wooley first dabbled in politics in 2004, when he worked as treasurer for Gardner’s 2004 campaign against then-incumbent, Earlene Roberts. Since then, he has worked as a pipeline inspector and safety specialist for MBF Services. Wooley has close ties to Roswell — he’s lived here for 28 years — and a background in agriculture.

He has a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business from New Mexico State University. In 2005, he retired from State Farm after being a claims adjuster for 16 years.

He says he looks forward to tackling budgetary issues as well as education reform and regional water problems. Wooley will formally be sworn into office on Tuesday morning when the Legislature convenes in Santa Fe for a new session.

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