New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands

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New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $13,618,900
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  New Mexico Constitution, Article V, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Aubrey Dunn.jpg
Name:  Aubrey Dunn
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  2015
Compensation:  $106,050
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other New Mexico Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of Public LandsSecretary of EducationAgriculture SecretaryInsurance SuperintendentSecretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural ResourcesSecretary of Workforce SolutionsPublic Regulation CommissionPublic Education Commission

The New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands is an elected constitutional state executive officer in the New Mexico state government. The commissioner leads the New Mexico State Land Office, which is responsible for administering nine million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface land for the beneficiaries of the New Mexico State Land Trust. The office seeks to optimize revenues while protecting the health of the land.[1] Commissioners are selected in midterm election years and can serve up to two consecutive four-year terms in the position.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Republican Aubrey Dunn. He was first elected in 2014 following a statewide recount of votes. Dunn replaced Democratic predecessor Ray Powell.[2]


The New Mexico Constitution addresses the office of commissioner of public lands in Article V, the Executive Department.

Under Article V, Section 1:

The executive department shall consist of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, attorney general and commissioner of public lands,...


As outlined in Article V, Section 3 of the state constitution, an individual must meet the following qualifications in order to serve as land commissioner:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • At least 30 years of age
  • Have resided continuously in New Mexico for five years preceding the election


New Mexico state government organizational chart

New Mexico elects the commissioner of public lands in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For New Mexico, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all commissioner election years.



See also: New Mexico down ballot state executive elections, 2014
New Mexico Land Commissioner, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngAubrey Dunn 50.1% 250,185
     Democratic Ray Powell Incumbent 49.9% 249,481
Total Votes 499,666
Election Results via New Mexico Secretary of State.

Term limits

The land commissioner is limited to serving two consecutive four-year terms.


Per Article V, Section 5 of the New Mexico Constitution, in the event of a vacancy the governor fills the position by appointment. The appointee serves until the next general election.


See Energy policy in New Mexico for information on the state's energy portfolio and goals.

The land commissioner is responsible for generating and maximizing revenue from state land trusts while concurrently protecting, conserving and maintaining the lands for use by future generations. The money generated is used to support public education and other beneficiary institutions.

These revenues are generated by the land commissioner by leasing lands for grazing, agriculture, commercial use, oil and gas drilling, mining and other activities.[3]


The New Mexico State Land Office includes the following divisions and subdivisions:[4]

  • Administrative Services
  • Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Records Management
  • Commercial Resources
  • Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy
  • Field Operations
  • Mineral Resources
  • Oil, Gas, and Minerals
  • Royalty Management
  • Legal Division
  • Surface Resources
  • Agricultural Leasing
  • Rights of Way
  • Special Projects
  • Educational Outreach
  • Adult Education/Tours
  • Community Outreach

State budget

See also: New Mexico state budget and finances

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands was $13,618,900.[5]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of state executive officers are established by the New Mexico State Legislature as mandated in the state constitution. Article V, Section 12 of the New Mexico Constitution established initial salaries for constitutional officers with the state legislature able to adjust these salaries starting in 1922, which was 10 years after the state's admission to the United States. This constitutional provision states the following:[6]

Text of Section 12:

Compensation of Executive Officers

The annual compensation to be paid to the officers mentioned in Section One of this article shall be as follows: governor, five thousand dollars [($5,000)]; secretary of state, three thousand dollars [($3,000)]; state auditor, three thousand dollars [($3,000)]; state treasurer, three thousand dollars [($3,000)]; attorney general, four thousand dollars [($4,000)]; superintendent of public instruction, three thousand dollars [$3,000)]; and commissioner of public lands, three thousand dollars [($3,000)]; which compensation shall be paid to the respective officers in equal quarterly payments.

The lieutenant governor shall receive ten dollars [($10.00)] per diem while acting as presiding officer of the senate, and mileage at the same rate as a state senator.

The compensation herein fixed shall be full payment for all services rendered by said officers and they shall receive no other fees or compensation whatsoever.

The compensation of any of said officers may be increased or decreased by law after the expiration of ten years from the date of the admission of New Mexico as a state.[7]


In 2014, the commissioner received a salary of $106,050, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the commissioner was paid an estimated $92,861.[9]


In 2012, the commissioner was paid an estimated $95,986. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 28 commissioners of public lands since 1899. Of the 28 officeholders, eight were Republican and 20 were Democratic. The first commissioner, Alpheus A. Keen, was appointed. The second, Robert P. Ervein, was initially appointed and later elected.[10]

List of Former Officeholders from 1899-Present
# Name Tenure Party
1 Alpheus A. Keen 1899-1906 Ends.png Republican
2 Robert P. Ervein 1907-1918 Ends.png Republican
3 Fred Muller Oct.-Dec. 1918 Electiondot.png Democratic
4 N.A. Field 1919-1922 Ends.png Republican
5 Justiniano Baca 1923-1925 Electiondot.png Democratic
6 E.B. Swope 1925-1926 Electiondot.png Democratic
7 B.F. Pankey 1927-1929 Ends.png Republican
8 Austin D. Crile 1929-1930 Ends.png Republican
9 J.F. Hinkle 1931-1932 Electiondot.png Democratic
10 Frank Vesely 1933-1936 Electiondot.png Democratic
11 Frank Worden 1937-1940 Electiondot.png Democratic
12 H.R. Rodgers 1941-1944 Electiondot.png Democratic
13 John E. Miles 1945-1948 Electiondot.png Democratic
14 Guy Shepard 1949-1952 Electiondot.png Democratic
15 E.S. “Johnny” Walker 1953-1956 Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Murray E. Morgan 1957-1960 Electiondot.png Democratic
17 E.S. “Johnny” Walker 1961-1964 Electiondot.png Democratic
18 Guyton B. Hays 1965-1968 Electiondot.png Democratic
19 Alex Armijo 1969-1974 Electiondot.png Democratic
20 Phil R. Lucero 1975-1978 Electiondot.png Democratic
21 Alex Armijo 1979-1982 Electiondot.png Democratic
22 Jim Baca 1983-1986 Electiondot.png Democratic
23 W.R. Humphries 1987-1990 Ends.png Republican
24 Jim Baca 1991-1993 Electiondot.png Democratic
25 Ray Powell 1993-2002 Electiondot.png Democratic
26 Patrick Lyons 2003-2010 Ends.png Republican
27 Ray Powell 2011-2014 Electiondot.png Democratic
28 Aubrey Dunn 2015-present Ends.png Republican

Recent news

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New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands - Google News Feed

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Contact information

State Land Office - Edward J. Lopez Building

General Contact Information
310 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe NM 87501
P.O. Box 1148, Santa Fe, NM 87504
505-827-5766 (Fax)

For information on individual employees, see the employee lookup function on the official website.

See also

External links

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