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Rivera running for magistrate post

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By Mercy Lopez

San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Y. Rivera has decided to run for the Division 2 magistrate position in San Miguel County after learning that the judge currently holding that post doesn’t plan to run for re-election.

Rivera, a Democrat, announced Monday that she will be seeking the post. Filing day for county offices is March 11, with the primary election taking place in June and the general election in November.

“I know that the position of magistrate judge is not an easy position and it will be very challenging but at the stage of life that I am in, I am ready for the challenge,” Rivera told the Optic. “I am ready to serve the citizens of San Miguel County to the best of my ability.”

Rivera’s current term as county clerk doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2016. If she wins the magistrate post, she said, she will resign her clerk’s position on Dec. 31. If that occurs, the San Miguel County Commission would appoint a replacement to serve the final two years of Rivera’s term.

Rivera has a long history of serving as an elected official. She is currently serving her second term as county clerk.

“I have been an elected official for four terms and have worked with San Miguel County for over 18 years,” she said.

“During my tenure I have served the citizens of San Miguel County with the utmost honesty and integrity, and I believe that I (will) continue to do that as magistrate judge.”

During a telephone interview Monday, Magistrate Chris Najar, who holds the Division 2 post, said he would not seek re-election. Najar is completing his second term on the bench. Prior to being a magistrate judge he served as county sheriff for a decade.

Rivera was recently in the news for joining a handful of other New Mexico county clerks in late August and issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Rivera said some of her accomplishments as county clerk include implementing an online electronic recording system and digitizing all survey plats and real estate documents. She added that all election canvasses in previous elections have been approved by the secretary of state without any discrepancies or errors.

Rivera is married to Danny Rivera and the mother of two grown children, Adrian and Geneva.