LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Four Las Cruces state lawmakers say they have “serious reservations” about former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers, who’s up for the New Mexico State University presidency.
Democratic Reps. Phillip Archuleta, Nate Cote, Bill McCamley and Jeff Steinborn issued a statement Thursday following an Albuquerque Journal report about Carruthers’ work in the 1990s for a tobacco-backed group. The Journal reported Carruthers was chairman of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, which was formed by a public relations group working for tobacco giant Philip Morris.
Steinborn also suggested Carruthers “isn’t convinced of climate change.” Carruthers didn’t take a position on the issue when asked last Monday.
NMSU Board of Regents chair Mike Cheney said he wishes the legislators had commented earlier in the process.
The regents were set to negotiate with a presidential candidate over the weekend but backed off those plans after an open government group complained.
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government warned doing so would violate the state’s open meeting laws.
Cheney told the Las Cruces Sun-News the board doesn’t plan to begin negotiations until after they hold a public vote on the chosen candidate, likely Monday afternoon.
Four people other than Carruthers are being considered for the job. They are former Texas Tech University president Guy Bailey, former University of Nevada, Las Vegas president David Ashley, former Texas A&M University president Elsa Murano and University of Colorado Denver Dean Daniel Howard.