With Republicans making big gains in the number of GOP state House members, committee assignments are beginning to even out. Tentative committee assignments doled out Thursday by Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, make apparent Republicansâ€™ gaining voice in the lower house, after picking up eight seats in the general election.
In five out of the 12 substantive committees, there are an equal number of Democratic and Republican members. Committees, where bills navigate before, usually, ending up on the House floor for a vote, were until just recently, dominated by members of the majority party.
â€œWeâ€™ve got more people on committees and some committees are 50-50 now, which they werenâ€™t before,â€ said Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell. â€œThe Republicans are in a much stronger position now to do some things,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m happy for my party and Iâ€™m happy for my state.â€ However, all committees will retain Democrat chair and vice chair positions, including the House Appropriations and Finance, Taxation and Revenue, and Judiciary committees â€” which cause some local Republicans to remain skeptical of advancing GOP agenda items.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have more members, thereâ€™s no doubt about that,â€ said Rep. Bob Wooley, RRoswell. â€œBut, every committee has a Democrat leader … so itâ€™s going to be a challenge.â€
Regardless of this sessionâ€™s outcome in terms of bills landing on the House floor for a vote, local lawmakers say they are optimistic that the floor wonâ€™t be dominated by a single political party. â€œI think it is hopeful,â€ said Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell.
â€œWeâ€™ll hopefully work together … and with things more even on both sides I think itâ€™s going happen.â€ The House is slated to reconvene, Monday.