Seats of government seeking relief

SANTA FE (KRQE) — It's not a cushy job, but state representatives may soon get cushy new chairs.

A state lawmaker claims the chairs house members sit on look nice but are actually falling apart And wants to spend a *lot of money to get new ones.

How much would you pay for 70 new chairs for the 70 state reps who sit in them?

"The chairs in the House have been used and abused over the years," Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, told KRQE News 13.  "They're more than 20 years old."

They're big, they're leather and they come complete with the state seal on the back.

State reps spend hours a day in these fancy seats.  But while every vote counts, not every chair is equal.

"Sometimes we play tricks on each other that somebody had replaced their really bad chair and gave me the really bad chair," Speaker of the House Ken Martinez, D-Grants, said.

Lundstrom says her chair is especially bad with a weak back.  She has a stool under her desk to catch her if it falls suddenly.

"We are asked to be here late hours in the evenings, and I just think that it would be practical that we have chairs that are safe and that are comfortable," Lundstrom said.

But that would come at a price.

Lundstrom is asking for $200,000 to replace all of the representative's chairs in the House chambers.  That's a little less than three grand a chair.

Rep. Candy Ezzell, R-Roswell, says her seat is just fine, thank you.

"I'm staggering at that amount," she said. "There might be a couple that might need some work, but overall to replace them all and put that on the backs of the taxpayers, I can't see it."

Martinez acknowledged he doesn't see new chairs as a high priority, but Lundstrom maintains it's worth it.

"Two-hundred thousand dollars, when you think about, they would last for many years, and I don't think it's that expensive," Lundstrom said.

On Friday News 13 saw a Santa Fe rep with his chair flipped over as he tried to fix it himself.

Gov. Susana Martinez's office last year bought 185 chairs for $48,000 or about $260 a chair.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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