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February 10. 2022


Tarin Nix, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs

State Land Office celebrates four Senate confirmations

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Senate on Wednesday confirmed all of Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard’s nominees to the New Mexico State Land Advisory Board and unanimously confirmed the State Land Office’s Director of Renewable Energy, Jeremy Lewis, to serve on the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Board.

By statute, the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands is required to convene the New Mexico State Land Advisory Board three times every year. By law, the Board membership must be politically and geographically diverse and represents the trust’s beneficiaries and key constituencies. Two members represent the beneficiary institutions and one each representing agriculture, extractive industries, and conservation interests. Two members serve at large. The seven members are appointed by the State Land Commissioner and confirmed by the State Senate to serve six-year terms.

This past December, three members’ terms expired, requiring Commissioner Garcia Richard to appoint three new members to the advisory board.

Commissioner Garcia Richard appointed Paula Garcia to serve in the conservation position, Joanna Prukop to serve at-large, and Col. David West to serve on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries (see: bios below).

“I want to thank members Dierdre “Dee” Tarr, Samuel Smallidge, and Royce Maples for their years of service to our public lands, beneficiaries, and the office, said Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard. “We are excited to welcome our newly appointed members and appreciate Chair Ivey-Soto, Vice Chair Leo Jaramillo, and the New Mexico Senators who saw the same overwhelming qualifications and expertise capable of helping shape the future practices and policies at the State Land Office.”

The New Mexico State Senate also unanimously confirmed Jeremy Lewis to serve on the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Board.

“I want to thank the Governor for the appointment and the overwhelming support received in the Senate,” said Jeremy Lewis. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the RETA Board and use my years in state government and expertise to help deliver renewable energy and storage solutions to the grid for the benefit of all New Mexicans,” noted Lewis.


Paula Garcia – Paula has served as Executive Director of the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) for nearly two decades. Through her leadership, acequias have enacted policy reforms protecting rural, agricultural water rights, and have fought for clean water to flow in New Mexico rivers. Paula also established innovative youth and leadership development projects and farm apprenticeships that seek to strengthen the next generation of farmers and ranchers through NMAA. Paula lives in Mora County where she continues to operate their 6-generation small-scale ranching and forestry business with her extended family.

Joanna Prukop – Joanna has served as the secretary of the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and chair of the New Mexico Game Commission. Before that, she worked for 25 years at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. After leaving state government, she served in President Barack Obama’s administration as a three-term appointee to the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. She holds a master’s degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University.

Col. David West – Col. West is a Clovis High School graduate who served in the United States Army from 1985-1991 as a combat medic. Col. West now serves as the Chief of Staff to the President of New Mexico Military Institute, a New Mexico State Land Office beneficiary.

Jeremy Lewis – Jeremy currently serves as the Director of Renewable Energy at the New Mexico State Land Office and has already tripled the amount of renewable energy projects on state trust land. Prior to the State Land Office, Jeremy was Bureau Chief for energy planning and programs at the New Mexico Energy Conservation and Management Division. He served with the UNM Service Corps expanding community gardens and literacy in Albuquerque as well as with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Taos. He holds a master’s of community and regional planning from UNM.