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New Mexico Telegram » Albuquerque, Featured » Berry appoints Arnold-Jones to ABQ city council

Berry appoints Arnold-Jones to ABQ city council

Janice Arnold JonesAlbuquerque Mayor Richard Berry made it official and appointed former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones to fill the recently vacated District 7 city council seat.

Berry must have believed Arnold-Jones would hit the ground running.

Arnold-Jones, who lost a bid for congress last year and struggled to get traction in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010, says she was knee deep in mud fixing a sprinkler head this morning when the mayor called to tell her she was his pick to replace former Councilor Michael Cook who resigned on April 5 after being charged with drunk driving earlier this month.

After cleaning up, Arnold-Jones has been on the move ever since.

The mayor asked her to be in his office by noon. Just after 3:30 she had her hand on the bible and was taking the oath of office from City Clerk Amy Bailey.

Now she’s preparing for her first city council meeting at 5pm.

Berry told reporters he was impressed by the number of telephone calls he got in support of Lewis over the past few weeks. He says more than 130 people urged him to pick her.

“I worked with Janice during my time in the legislature and found her to be very professional and passionate about her commitment to good government,” said Mayor Berry.

Berry says there was no litmus test for people seeking to replace Cook. Instead, Berry, who served with Arnold-Jones in Santa Fe, says he chose Arnold-Jones because he trusts her judgment. Still, he says they share the same fundamental philosophy on transparency and fiscal policies.

“We know the importance of being good stewards of government,” Berry said.

The former Albuquerque High and UNM grad was the first lawmaker to webcast a committee meeting said the Mayor knows “exactly how I work.”

“In her four terms as a state representative she was thoughtful and deliberate when deciding how to vote on legislation, always putting the people she represented before politics, a tradition I believe she will continue on city council,” said Bernalillo County Republican Party Chairman Frank Ruvolo, who has helped Arnold-Jones facilitate her Saturday morning political issue discussion group for years.

“She was a true representative of the people which led to her starting a Saturday morning coffee group so she could hear the concerns of her constituents. She credited the group with ‘helping’ her to decide to take a web cam to the Roundhouse; a move that made our state government far more transparent than before she took office.

Arnold-Jones, who spent 12 years in contract support to Sandia National Laboratories, before quitting to run for congress, says she will campaign for a full-term this fall, but won’t be allowed to start collecting petition signatures until May 1. Democrat Diane Gibson has announced she plans to campaign for the seat this fall. It’s unclear if Arnold-Jones will seek public financing for her campaign.

Earlier this year, Arnold-Jones and her husband John Jones had their truck tires slashed. After recording surveillance video tape the couple discovered it appears the suspect in the vandalism was her pre-primary opponent Gary Smith. He remains in jails and face felony charges for the damage and for stalking the couple.

“I applaud Mayor Berry’s appointment, and I know that Janice Arnold-Jones will be a great asset to the people of Albuquerque in this new role,” Republican Party of New Mexico chairman John Billingsley said in a statement. “She is a proven leader, who leads with common sense and puts the people she serves first.”

Written by

Peter St. Cyr is a freelance writer and veteran New Mexico reporter covering government and politics.

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One Response to "Berry appoints Arnold-Jones to ABQ city council"

  1. Plucked from the discard pile. Not a bad appointment, actually.