Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has turned to Sidonie Squier, a former top official in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to serve as New Mexico’s next human services secretary.
Squier, who has also held health care posts in Texas and Florida state governments, becomes Martinez’s second high-profile, out-of-state cabinet nominee this week.
In announcing the appointment, Martinez, who takes office Jan. 1, touted Squier’s talent and experience.
“She provides a valuable and unique perspective, having served at both the state and federal level,” Martinez said. “We face a significant budget deficit and both Sidonie and I are committed to ensuring that the safety net for needy families and children in New Mexico remains strong and in place.”
Squier worked from June 2005 until January 2009 as director of the Office of Family Assistance at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Part of her job included overseeing the distribution of emergency funding for low-income victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In New Mexico, Squier will be in charge of the state agency that oversees Medicaid spending. Current Human Services Secretary Katie Falls has projected a $360 million Medicaid shortfall in the coming fiscal year due to the loss of federal stimulus money, an increasing amount of Medicaid enrollees and the escalating cost of health care.