It seems all but certain that Governor Richardson will leave New Mexico, as everyone supposed, in January. Diane Denish will have, if she chooses to use it, a free hand in selecting a new set of cabinet officers, deputy secretaries, and many other appointments. One of her major first decisions will be exactly how to handle these: should she start fresh, with new faces? Or should she remain a caretaker for Richardson's agenda? At this point we can only guess, but after six years and an electorate demanding change, some fresh faces might seem appropriate.
Relations with the legislature are likely to change for the better. The Senate, at least the faction with the most votes, tended to be relatively independent. In the House, subservience to the Governor reached embarrassing levels as many legislators acted as though they were elected as a kind of cheering squad for the governor. There were many reasons for this, including the Governor's well-known personality and political skills, but it revealed a lot about how fragile the legislative branch has become. With Richardson gone, political courage might just make a comeback, and Denish doesn't seem to be the kind of person who would be petty toward well-intended, positive dissent. This means serious leadership in one or both Houses may re-emerge, but a larger question is just how much serious leadership potential there remains among the ranks of the state legislature. Will someone step up to the plate? Vamos a ver.
What does this have to do with the Valle del Sur? Not necessarily very much, although it will be necessary for political leaders in the Valle to press for solid appointments, including persons from down here in solid executive positions. Furthermore, the Valle del Sur has a number of talented legislators whose opportunity to play important leadership roles in the legislature on behalf of the citizens of the South has just been enhanced. May they rise to the occasion. We wish all of you well.