- Associated Press - Thursday, May 21, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The chief of staff for the state’s senior U.S. senator has been named secretary of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Gov. Michell Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that Bianca Ortiz Wertheim will lead the agency responsible for overseeing the state’s response to emergencies and hazards.

Before working for Sen. Tom Udall, Ortiz Wertheim served in various government positions within other Democrat administrations. She was director of cabinet affairs for former Gov. Bill Richardson and chief of staff for former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. Her husband, John Wertheim, once served as chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham touted Ortiz Wertheim’s two decades of experience as a strategic manager, saying she’s confident the department will continue to move forward as it prepares for changing threats.

Ortiz Wertheim replaces Jackie Lindsey, who resigned in November.

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