News-Bulletin Staff Report

The search for a new Valencia County Magistrate for Division III continues.

Judge John “Buddy” Sanchez announced his retirement from the bench in November after 27 years, initiating a search for his replacement by the governor’s office.

Eight Valencia County residents responded by the Nov. 19 deadline, but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top choice — Peralta Municipal Judge Tracy Aragon — declined the appointment.

At the Dec. 28 Peralta Town Council meeting, Aragon confirmed to the council he was offered the magistrate position, and subsequently declined.

Aragon was reelected to the municipal bench on Nov. 2 in an uncontested race, and has been making plans for expansions to the town’s court system.

Last June, the council gave the judge the green light to add court days to his calendar and make new hires. Aragon said he wanted to continue the work he’s been doing as a municipal judge for the town of Peralta.

“While I’m sure the council is happy, the governor’s people weren’t too pleased with my decision,” Aragon said.

In addition to Aragon, other applicants during the first call to fill the seat were Tom Conklin, Jamie Goldberg, Brittany Gauthier, John Hubert, Marisha Maez, D’andre Mathews and Chauncey Matthews.

Those interested in filling the vacancy can download the application from governor.state.nm.us/judicial-posts/ or request one via e-mail at vanessa.kennedy@state.nm.us.

All applications must be received no later than Friday, Jan. 14. Applications must be submitted via email to vanessa.kennedy@state.nm.us.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.