It’s election time! Run for a seat on our chapter’s board

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It’s that time of year when the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter needs your help. Our chapter will be choosing its board of directors for 2019 this month.

What do we need from you? First, please vote in the election. As a member of our chapter you’ll receive a ballot by email on Dec. 14. Your vote matters.

Second, consider running for a seat on our 11-person board. We’ve worked hard in recent years to grow our chapter, and it’s become one of the most active SPJ chapters in the nation. We need folks like you to help us keep going. And if you think SPJ could do a better job of serving members like you, why not do something about it? Help us be better.

Our bylaws require that candidates for the board’s five officer positions (president, vice-president for communications, vice president for development, secretary and treasurer) be existing board members. So these are the candidates running for officer positions this year:

• President: Karen Coates
• Vice president for development: Marie C. Baca
• Vice president for communications: John R. Roby
• Secretary: Jessica Onsurez
• Treasurer: Michael Marcotte

There are also six at-large members on our board. Their duties include regularly attending board meetings to develop policies and deliberate other actions the board takes on behalf of the chapter, serving on committees, and helping host events.

That’s where you come in.

We’re accepting nominations for one-year terms on the board (from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019) starting today, Dec. 3. The nomination period closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. And yes, you can nominate yourself.

On Friday, Dec. 14, all SPJ-Rio Grande members will receive ballots via email. Voting will be open until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19. We’ll report the results of the election to members on Thursday, Dec. 20.

To submit a nomination, please send an email to the two members of our elections committee, Geoff Grammer and Heath Haussamen, at and Please include a brief bio we can include on the ballot and a headshot. If you want an example, check out our existing board members’ bios:

You can also email Geoff and Heath with any questions.

You might also notice we’re conducting elections differently than we have in the past. In recent years, our chapter has allowed people who aren’t currently on the board to run for officer positions. This year, as we reviewed our chapter bylaws, we discovered that our chapter is required to select officers for the next year from among existing board members. So that’s what we’re doing.

Our board also began a comprehensive review of our bylaws this year. Our chapter has grown significantly since our bylaws were last revised in 2012, and they need updating to allow us to operate in a more professional and efficient manner given our growth. We’ll be bringing proposed changes to you for feedback and a vote next year.

Thank you for being part of our chapter!

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