On November 7, 2018, Governor Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the appointment of former longtime United State Senator Jeff Bingaman as chairman of her transition team.
Bingaman’s appointment is an indication of just how serious Lujan-Grisham is about getting things done and her ability to attract people to move the State finally in the right direction.
I do not recall ever that a former United States Senator has ever come out of retirement to head a governor’s transition team and that position is usually reserved for someone that has worked on a campaign.
Senator Bingaman is known for his low-key approach and more importantly, getting things done that are in the best interest of New Mexico.
On November 15, 2018, Governor elected Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her appointed transition team committees.
Seven different committees were announced.
Each is tasked with reviewing the various state agencies by getting feedback from current state government workers.
The committees will then prepare written reports and provide recommendations to Lujan Grisham and her transition team.
The governor elect has appointed a former governor, a tribal leader, an ex-State Police chief, several city officials to review state agencies over the coming weeks.
Following are the announced transition team committees and the co-chairs:
EDUCATION COMMITTEE: Former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers and retired New Mexico State University president; the founder and CEO of Native American Community Academy Kara Bobroff; Councilman and former Santo Domingo Pueblo Gov. Everett Chavez.
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE: Former State Police chief Robert Shilling and retired New Mexico National Guard Brig. Gen. Judy Griego.
ECONOMIC GROWTH COMMITTEE: Meow Wolf founder and CEO Vince Kadlubek and Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE: University of New Mexico pediatrics professor Andrew Hsi and New Mexico Appleseed Executive Director Jenny Ramo.
LABOR COMMITTEE: New Mexico Public Education Commission member Trish Ruiz and UNM African American Student Services Director W. Scott Carreathers.
NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: New Mexico State Parks Deputy Director Toby Velasquez and Interwest Energy Alliance Executive Director Sarah Cottrell Propst.
GENERAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: Roswell city councilor Judy Stubbs and state Department of Transportation Port of Entry staff manager Jennifer Block.
Governor elect Lujan Grisham has also said she plans to move quickly to appoint cabinet secretaries to replace current secretaries and assemble a cabinet.
In announcing the transition committees, Transition Team Director Dominic Gabello had this to say:
“The transition team’s principal focus will be agency and state government review in their subject area, and preparation of a report with recommendations for the governor-elect. … However, the governor-elect will welcome any input from transition team members on possible personnel selection.”
The Transition Team Committee has already set up a web page for people to apply for jobs and submit applications and resumes and it can be accessed here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Serving on any transition team for a Governor Elect is a big deal and is considered an honor.
Appointed members serve for free and are highly dedicated to making sure that they uncover any and all problems associated with the various agencies they review.
There is no doubt the transition teams have their work cut out for them over the next six weeks before January 1, 2019 when Governor Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham is sworn in.
After years of disastrous government and severe downsizing, there are more than the usual number of vacancies in State Government that need to be filled to get the new administration up and running.
It is likely the transition committees will also assist the Governor Elect in identifying new cabinet secretaries.
It would not be surprising if any one of the transition team committee members become cabinet secretaries.
There is no doubt that the transition committee members appointed are a clear reflection that New Mexico is about to swear in a new Governor who knows what she is doing, knows how to get things done and who knows state Government.
My only recommendation is that the secret office of the outgoing Governor’s top political consultant be swept for any and all surveillance devices before anyone moves into that office.
Best wishes and good luck Governor Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham as you begin your 8-year journey on January 1, 2019!