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

Ray Powell.jpg
Name:  Ray Powell
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  2011
Compensation:  $95986
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
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 State Land Office, which is responsible for administering 9 million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface land for the beneficiaries of the State Land Trust. The office seeks to optimize revenues while protecting the health of the land.[1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Ray Powell (D). First elected in 2010, he previously served as State Land Commissioner from 1993-2002 and was president and vice-president of the 22-member Western States Land Commissioners Association from 1996-1998.[2]


The state 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 elects the commissioner of public lands in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For New Mexico, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all commissioner election years.

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.


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 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

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


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


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

Historical officeholders

There have been 27 commissioners of public lands since 1899. Of the 27 officeholders, 7 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.[6]

Recent news

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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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