Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici is moving back to New Mexico, where he will join the State Land Office as senior adviser to Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.
“Senator Domenici is a wealth of knowledge and brings the Land Office a lifetime of experience,” Dunn said in a news release. “His dedication and service to the state of New Mexico and to its natural resources is very admirable, and the Land Office is fortunate to have him.”
Dunn said he would seek Domenici’s advice on policy issues, energy and natural resources management, and special projects. Domenici, a Republican, served six terms in the U.S. Senate before retiring in 2008. He’s currently a senior fellow for the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and has lived with his wife Nancy in the nation’s capitol since retiring.
Domenici, 84, said he and Nancy “look forward to returning to New Mexico permanently” in mid-January as part of the transition to working for the Land Office.
One issue on which Dunn will seek Domenici’s help is enacting his proposal to fund early childhood programs. Dunn wants the federal government to transfer millions of unleased subsurface mineral acres beneath private land to the state, to be set aside in a new trust specifically for programs like home visiting and child-care assistance. The State Land Office would manage the land much like it already does with a separate trust that helps fund public education.
The proposal would require approval of state and federal legislation. Dunn’s office has already created draft state-level legislation.
Domenici is speaking about early childhood education at a summit held by the American Legislative Exchange Council in Washington, D.C. on Friday.
“I look forward to working with the land commissioner on the bill he has prepared regarding early childhood education and the assurance of funding for this initiative, as well as assisting the land commissioner in his overall obligation and commitment to education funding for New Mexicans,” Domenici said.