[author: Albright, Jeffrey]
In an interview with Las Cruces Sun News, newly appointed Public Regulation Commissioner Doug Howe stated he supports a number of the recommendations made by "Think New Mexico" for restructuring the New Mexico regulatory agency. Howe stated he felt the PRC should focus on its core responsibilities of utility and telecommunications regulation. He also supports establishing some additional criteria for persons elected to the position, a key recommendation from the bi-partisan Think New Mexico group. Democrat Jason Marks and Republican Patrick Lyons favor some reductions in the agency's responsibilities while Democrat Theresa Becenti Aguilar and Republican Ben Hall believe reforms can come from within. Any changes to the responsibilities or qualifications for the Commissioners would have to come from the legislature and from the NM voters, since the PRC's responsibilities are derived from the NM Constitution and not merely from statutes. Howe, an Independent, was recently appointed by Governor Susana Martinez to fill the position vacated by Jerome Block Junior. Howe's term lasts through December 31, 2012. In the interview, Howe indicated he had not decided whether he would run for re-election in November 2012 for a full four-year term.
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