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Finalists selected for director/secretary of N.M. Department of Agriculture

Three finalists have been selected to interview for the position of director and secretary of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

alists are Miley Gonzalez, president of Gonzalez and Associates in Phoenix, a former associate dean and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station of New Mexico State University; Paul Gutierrez, assistant deputy administrator for farm programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.; and state Rep. Andrew Nunez, who previously served as legislative liaison, assistant to the dean and director of international programs for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at NMSU.

All three will interview on Thursday, May 8, and the public is invited to meet with the candidates in the Senate Gallery of the Corbett Center Student Union on the New Mexico State University campus. The public meetings are scheduled for 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. for Nunez, 12:45 to 2 p.m. for Gonzalez and 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. for Gutierrez.

In addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at NMSU, Gonzalez has served as under-secretary for research, education and economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. He has a Ph.D. in agriculture and extension education from Pennsylvania State University.

Gutierrez was state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in New Mexico before becoming assistant deputy administrator for farm programs. He earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from NMSU.

Nunez represents House District 36, serving on the Agriculture and Water Committee and the Taxation and Revenue Committee. He previously served in various capacities with the NMSU College of Agriculture and Home Economics. He has a master's degree in animal science from NMSU.

The finalists were selected by a search committee chaired by Lowell Catlett, Regents Professor of agricultural economics and agricultural business at NMSU.

The director/secretary of the state Department of Agriculture is hired by the New Mexico State University Board of Regents, reports to the Board of Regents and also serves as a member of the governor's cabinet. Frank DuBois, who has held the post for 15 years, is retiring in June.