Regional Coalition elects officers

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Coalition > Española mayor was reelected chair

By Arin McKenna

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities held a business-oriented meeting on Thursday that included the election of officers.
City of Española Mayor Alice Lucero was reelected chair of the coalition. Town of Taos Councilor Andrew Gonzales was elected vice chair. Gonzales has been serving as secretary/treasurer. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales was elected secretary/treasurer by a 4-2 vote over Taos County Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn.
Lucero announced that the Pueblo of Jemez has decided to join the coalition. The agreement is currently being finalized.
The board approved both a work plan and a budget. Both can be viewed in the July 24 agenda packet at regionalcoalition.org.
Los Alamos County Councilor Frances Berting and Deputy County Administrator Brian Bosshardt will join Lucero and coalition Executive Director Darien Cabral in Las Vegas, Nev., July 30-Aug. 1 for the Energy Alliance Communities Peer Exchange. The focus of the conference is nuclear energy and includes a tour the National Nuclear Security Site.
Regional Development Corporation Executive Director Kathy Keith and REDI (Regional Economic Development Initiative) Program Manager Eric Vasquez announced plans for the annual State of the Region summit at Ohkay Owingeh Aug. 21. Keith asked Regional Coalition members to participate as facilitators of break out groups.
Vasquez announced that this year’s summit is dovetailing with the State Jobs Council, initiated by the New Mexico legislature this year.
REDI will be organizing a regional job council for REDI communities in conjunction with the conference.
“We strongly encourage all community members who are interested in identifying the job needs going forth for the next decade or so to participate in this,” Vasquez said. “We will look at job needs for the region going forward to maintain our communities as they are and actually grow them.
According to Vasquez, participation is particularly important to local governments since the state legislature and administration will be using input from statewide jobs council meetings to determine economic development funding for the future.
“So the communities that have already gone through this exercise will be in a better place for receiving funding in the future,” Vasquez said.
The meeting included a substantial discussion about issues affecting Los Alamos National Laboratory subcontractors. Los Alamos County Councilor Steve Girrens and Cabral have been meeting with LANL Acquisitions Manager Doug McCrary.