Gov.-elect's first Cabinet picks are from New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Gov.-elect’s first Cabinet picks are from New Mexico

Em121418b
em121418b/a/Governor elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, 2nd from right, introduces three of her cabinet picks during a news conference in the Roundhouse, Friday Decemeber 14, 2018. From left, Secretary-designate for D.F.A. Olivia Padilla-Jackson, Secretary-designate for Human Services Department, Dr. David Scrase and Secretary-designate for Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department Sarah Cottrell, right. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced her first Cabinet appointments since being elected last month, turning to in-state faces with proven track records to run three state agencies.

Two of the appointees have previous state government experience, and the third has extensive experience in the health care industry.

With just over two weeks until she’s sworn into office, Lujan Grisham said her Cabinet search has focused on qualified individuals who can get to work immediately on implementing her policy initiatives.

“Our goal is to be the most prepared administration in the history of New Mexico,” the governor-elect told a press conference Friday at the state Capitol.

Her first round of Cabinet appointees include Olivia Padilla-Jackson as the next secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, which functions as state government’s central budget office.

Padilla-Jackson last month was named Albuquerque’s top budget officer. She is a former director of the state Board of Finance.

She will take the reins of the Department of Finance and Administration at a time of unprecedented revenue levels – a total of $1.1 billion in new money is projected for the coming budget year – due primarily to surging oil production levels in southeastern New Mexico.

“It’s an unprecedented opportunity to be able to do some incredible things,” said Padilla-Jackson, who added that she would carefully review recently released state revenue estimates. “That being said, we need to be cautious.”

Lujan Grisham also appointed Dr. David Scrase as the next leader of the Human Services Department, one of the state’s largest agencies with more than 2,000 employees. It administers the state’s Medicaid program and programs for New Mexicans with mental illness and addiction issues.

Scrase is a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and the section chief of geriatrics at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

A former Cabinet secretary herself, Lujan Grisham said her administration will look closely at the Medicaid Centennial Care program implemented by outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration but indicated she opposes ideas like mandatory co-pays and health insurance premiums for some Medicaid recipients.

“There are things in that proposal we don’t agree with and don’t think are viable,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lujan Grisham appointed Sarah Cottrell Propst secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, which oversees the State Parks division and regulates oil and natural gas drilling in New Mexico.

Cottrell Propst, executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance and the former energy and environmental policy adviser for ex-Gov. Bill Richardson, said she has been tasked with trying to work with energy industry officials to come up with new rules governing methane releases.

She also said she will work to expand opportunities for export of renewable energy.

“New Mexico has far more renewables than we’ll ever be able to use with our population here,” Cottrell Propst said.

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Ryan Flynn tweeted after Friday’s announcement that he looked forward to working with the secretary-designate, saying growing the state’s economy can go “hand in hand” with protecting the environment.

The three Cabinet appointees, who are each subject to Senate confirmation, will take the reins of their respective state agencies on Jan. 1, when Lujan Grisham is sworn into office.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said she plans to unveil her own budget blueprint shortly after taking office, instead of relying on a legislative budget recommendation.

More Cabinet appointments are expected to be announced in the coming days.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Half of city voters favor Keller's job performance
2021 city election
60% approval rating a year ago ... 60% approval rating a year ago likely due to pandemic response
2
Book merchant Jim Hoffsis was a pillar of Old ...
ABQnews Seeker
Korean War veteran was an admirer ... Korean War veteran was an admirer of military, supporter of local authors
3
Gonzales' current job approval stands at 34%
2021 city election
Democratic sheriff has little support from ... Democratic sheriff has little support from members of own party
4
NM film and television community honors Halyna Hutchins
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's film and television community ... New Mexico's film and television community came together to remember cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at a candlelight vigil at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Saturday ...
5
Keller has large lead over mayoral opponents
2021 city election
Gonzales, Aragon lag behind; runoff may ... Gonzales, Aragon lag behind; runoff may not be needed
6
Hours before showtime, Las Cruces High's band truck is ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Las Cruces High School Showcase ... The Las Cruces High School Showcase band's trip to Albuquerque this weekend started on a sour note. Hours before the Zia Marching Band Fiesta ...
7
Don't forget: 10-digit phone dialing to be required in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Starting Sunday, phone users across New ... Starting Sunday, phone users across New Mexico must include area codes when dialing to make all calls, including local calls that previously only required ...
8
States mostly defer to union guidance for on-set gun ...
ABQnews Seeker
Safety standards developed by film studios ... Safety standards developed by film studios and labor unions are the primary protection for actors and film crews when a scene calls for using ...
9
Vigil to be held at Civic Plaza for cinematographer
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico community will come ... The New Mexico community will come together to remember filmmaker Halyna Hutchins. The 42-year-old director of photography was killed on the set of 'Rust' ...