Nunez Replaced As Agriculture Chair

Las Cruces – House Speaker Ben Lujan has replaced Hatch Democrat Andy Nunez as chairman of the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.

Nunez had backed a possible challenger to Lujan for the speakership this year. However, the leadership bid by Las Cruces Democrat Joseph Cervantes was dropped when he couldn't pick up enough Republican support to have a chance of defeating Lujan.

Nunez was the only Democrat who did not vote for Lujan as speaker when the Legislature convened.

Cervantes retained his vice chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. Another Cervantes supporter, Las Cruces Democrat Mary Helen Garcia, became chairwoman of the Voters and Elections Committee.

Lujan said Thursday he replaced Nunez because he wanted more unity among Democratic leaders and chairmen.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.