Updated: Friday, 01 Mar 2013, 11:43 AM MST
Published : Friday, 01 Mar 2013, 9:34 AM MST
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Education unions are opposing the confirmation of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's education secretary but the Navajo Nation president is among those urging the Senate to confirm Hanna Skandera in the post she's held for two years.
The Senate Rules Committee opened a confirmation hearing Friday on Skandera and lawmakers will continue to consider her nomination on Saturday.
A letter of support for Skandera from Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was read to the committee.
Education union officials opposed Skandera, saying she didn't meet the state constitution's requirement for the department secretary to be a "qualified, experienced educator." Unions and their Democratic supporters have opposed many of the governor's education initiatives.
The Senate last rejected a governor's cabinet secretary in 1997, when GOP Gov. Gary Johnson was in office.