While steering the state through the effects of the pandemic, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is also helping Joe Biden’s presidential campaign navigate the novel coronavirus era as a member of his transition team.
The Governor’s Office and the Biden team confirmed Thursday that Lujan Grisham is one of five co-chairpersons advising Biden, the Democratic nominee for president. Members of the former vice president’s transition team were announced Saturday.
“The governor is, among a variety of issues, advising the transition team on what states need and will continue to need in their response to the pandemic and its economic impacts,” Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office, said in an email.
Cameron French, a spokesman for the Biden transition team, wrote in an email that Lujan Grisham “has built a reputation advocating to improve healthcare for years as former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Aging and Long-term Services and Department of Health.”
Ted Kaufman, another co-chairman on Biden’s transition team and a former U.S. senator from Delaware, said in a statement the transition team is composed of a “diverse group of experts who are committed to helping a possible Biden-Harris administration beat the public health crisis and put Americans back to work in good-paying jobs.”
Lujan Grisham and others will counsel the Biden team on responding to the ongoing public health crisis and the recession.
The governor was on the shortlist for Biden’s vice presidential candidate before U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California accepted the nomination. Connected Democrats have speculated Lujan Grisham could still be offered a position in a Biden Cabinet.
The New York Times reported in July that Lujan Grisham expressed interest in the Department of Health and Human Services Cabinet position, citing officials familiar with the governor’s thinking.
Also on Biden’s transition team are Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Biden who served as President Barrack Obama’s communications director; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana; and former White House National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients.
Lujan Grisham has been in the national spotlight over how she handled New Mexico’s response to the pandemic. New Mexico has dodged high transmission rates seen in surrounding states such as Arizona, Texas and Utah.
The governor also has been featured in national news over her connections to the Biden campaign and a recent address at the Democratic National Convention in which she decried the Trump administration over its lack of action on climate change.