Ortiz-Wertheim to take infrastructure post - Albuquerque Journal

Ortiz-Wertheim to take infrastructure post

SANTA FE — Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim is leaving her post as a Cabinet secretary to take on a new role overseeing the deluge of federal infrastructure funds arriving in New Mexico.

She is the new director of infrastructure and implementation and will work with Senior Infrastructure Adviser Martin Chávez and others.

Ortiz-Wertheim had led the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management since May 2020. She is a former chief of staff to ex-Sen. Tom Udall and has worked a strategic planner for the American Cancer Society.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made the announcement Thursday.

“Bianca has a wealth of knowledge of federal programs and funding and a strong network of relationships across New Mexico,” the governor said.

Diego Arencón, deputy chief of staff to Lujan Grisham, will temporarily serve as secretary of homeland security and emergency management until the governor appoints a replacement.

The job changes come as New Mexico is set to receive more than $3.7 billion in funding through the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress. Some of the money is broadly targeted for highways, broadband, wildfire prevention and clean drinking water.

Ortiz-Wertheim will work with Chávez, a former state senator and Albuquerque mayor; broadband adviser Matt Schmit; and water adviser Mike Hamman to organize and oversee the spending.

“We have a tremendous task before us, implementing this once-in-a-generation investment in our state’s infrastructure, and I’m delighted to have Bianca in our corner,” Chávez said.

Ortiz-Wertheim made about $158,000 a year as a Cabinet secretary and will make $138,000 in her new job.

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