District 1 Commissioner Oscar Vásquez Butler has been appointed chairman of the Gateway Subcommittee of the National Association of Counties’ Public Lands Steering Committee and to a membership position on NACo’s Watershed Management Advisory Committee. NACo President Bill Hansell announced the appointments last week.

The Public Lands Steering Committee deals with all matters pertaining to legislation affecting the economy of agricultural counties, rural development programs and conservation and environmental programs affecting agriculture. In addition, the committee is responsible for oversight of platform amendments and resolutions from other steering committees that have a significant impact on rural counties across the United States.

The Watershed Management Advisory Committee serves as a resource for NACo members on a wide range of watershed management issues and aids in producing publications on related issues. Meeting during NACo conferences, members of the WMAC often make site visits to areas of interest around the country to gain and share knowledge about watershed issues. Members also are major contributors to NACo's Local Government Peer Exchange Network, which is a searchable, web-based database that local officials can use to find case studies, as well as other information to aid them in tackling a large number of environmental issues.

“Commissioner Vásquez Butler will be a strong advocate for county issues on Capitol Hill,” said NACo Executive Director Larry Naake.

Because he sits on two national committees, most of Vásquez Butler’s travel costs to NACo events will be paid either by the New Mexico Association of Counties or the National Association of Counties.

“I’m honored to have been chosen to chair this important subcommittee at the national level,” Vásquez Butler said. “I pledge to work hard on both committees and to continue to represent Doña Ana County and New Mexico at the national level.”

As president-elect of the New Mexico Association of Counties, Vásquez Butler said he is confident that he can parlay his national role into increased exposure for New Mexico’s issues and challenges, particularly those which face the state’s 33 counties.

In addition to his latest appointment, Vásquez Butler served on the NMAC Board of Directors and the NMAC Workers’ Compensation Board from 2003-2005. He was vice-chairman of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners in 2004, and he has been president of the Doña Ana Mutual Domestic Consumers Association since 1999. He is a board member of the New Mexico Water Dialogue Board and the Lower Rio Grande Water Users’ Organization, and he is past chairman and a current board member of the South Central Solid Waste Authority and the Doña Ana County Extra Territorial Authority.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.