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Cavin elected chair of Board of Commissioners

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Will Cavin, right, will serve as chairman of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners following Thursday elections of 2019 officers. District 1 Commissioner Dara Dana, at her first meeting since her election in November, says she expects to hear frequently from her constituents. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The Chaves County Board of Commissioners has a new chair and vice-chair.

At the first meeting of 2019, held Thursday morning, the board of five commissioners voted to name District 5 Commissioner Will Cavin as chair and District 3 Commissioner Jeff Bilberry as vice-chair.

Cavin, who has been serving as vice-chair and was re-elected to his second term in November, is succeeding District 4 Commissioner Robert Corn. Corn served as chair for three years and has two years left in his second term on the board.

“It is time to pass the gavel, and give him (Cavin) a little coaching along the way,” said Corn. “I am not going anywhere. I have two more years, and I plan to serve until the last minute of the last year.”

Corn also mentioned that he has other leadership roles to fill. He was elected chair of the Republican Party of Chaves County Tuesday, and he also is the new chair of the Commissioners Affiliates of the New Mexico Counties, formerly known as the New Mexico Association of Counties.

“It has been a honor and pleasure to be the vice-chair for the last three years,” said Cavin after his election. “Commissioner Corn has always been a great mentor over the years. … One of the things that I think it extremely important … is that everyone here wants to make a difference, here in Chaves County.”

He also noted that he will represent the area nationally, having been elected to the Western Interstate Region Board of Directors for the National Association of Counties.

Bilberry, a rancher, was elected to his first term in 2016. He and lawyer T. Calder Ezzell Jr., the District 2 commissioner, both took their posts at the same time in January 2017.

The meeting also marked the first for District 1 Commissioner Dara Dana. The only woman on the commission, Dana was elected in November after a close race against Democrat Michael Trujillo.

A former New Mexico state representative, she said she is already hearing more from constituents in her current role.

“When you are in Santa Fe,  people feel that they can’t communicate with you,” Dana said. “When you are on the local level, it is so nice. People are a lot more comfortable. I noticed that as soon as I got elected, that a lot more people were comfortable talking with us because they knew we were here, among everyone, living in the community, being in the community. So I think it will be a very nice and wonderful ride, as we say.”