Lopez chosen as new commissioner

By William Thompson

Longtime Quay County resident Robert Lopez, 41, was notified Friday by Gov. Bill Richardson that he was chosen to succeed the late Grace Madrid on the Quay County Commission.
“I don’t have any political agenda,” Lopez said. “So much of what we know about county government is second hand and I look forward to learning first hand about the workings of county government.”
Daniel Maki, manager of the state board of commissions, said Richardson chose Lopez because of his strong Quay County roots.
“There were six applicants for the position and Mr. Lopez was chosen for his community service and because he has lived in Quay County all his life,” Maki said. “He was also chosen for his work in agriculture.”
Lopez, an alfalfa farmer and cattle rancher, said his community service work involves agriculture.
“I am the president of the advisory board for the New Mexico State University Ag Science center just outside of Tucumcari,” Lopez said, “and I have volunteered as a 4-H leader. I was a hunter safety instructor for 4-H.”
Leonard Lauriault, forage agronomist at the ag science center, said Lopez is personable.
“He’a good farmer and he’s community oriented,” Lauriault said. “You can talk with him and you can joke with him.”
Lopez said he has big shoes to fill in replacing Madrid who died May 18.
“Grace was very hard working and I saw an opportunity,” Lopez said. “I feel I can take her place. I’m very open-minded and interested in everything going on in the county.”
Lopez will be sworn in by Judge Ricky D. Purcell at 9 a.m. today in Quay County District Court. His term will run through Dec. 31, 2006, according to Jeannette Maddaford, chief deputy county clerk.
Other applicants for the county commission position were: Gary Moore, Jimmy Sandoval, Alex Madrid, Doyle Frasier and Daniel Garcia, officials said.