BiancaOrtiz Wertheim.jpg

Bianca Ortiz Wertheim

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham named Bianca Ortiz Wertheim as the new secretary of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department Thursday.

Ortiz Wertheim, who grew up in Nambé, most recently worked as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and was also director of cabinet affairs for former Gov. Bill Richardson and chief of staff for former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, according to the Governor’s Office.

She enters the department after former Secretary Jackie Lindsey resigned in November. Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton has been working as acting secretary since then at the agency, which coordinates New Mexico’s emergency response and prevention activities.

“With my appointment of Bianca Ortiz Wertheim to take the helm of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, I am confident that the department will continue to move forward and adapt and prepare for changing threats, whether natural or man-made,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

Ortiz Wertheim has also been a strategic manager for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Governor’s Office said. “Our state’s greatest asset is its people, and I will devote myself to doing everything I can to protect their safety and wellbeing,” Ortiz Wertheim said.

She’s not the only appointee in the Lujan Grisham administration who has worked with Udall. Marco Grajeda, director of the New Mexico Border Authority, was a field representative for Udall’s Las Cruces office.

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Jens Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.

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(5) comments

Andrew Lucero

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Bianca. She is genuinely a very nice person. I have tremendous respect for her and all the members of her family. Especially her husband John... But I'm sorry to have to say this, she simply is not qualified for this position.

Lee DiFiore

Wow, in the middle of an emergency so significant it required shutting down the NM economy, throwing tens of thousands of NM citizens out of work, prohibiting most medical services, shuttering schools and crippling tax revenues we put an individual in charge of the emergency management department without any emergency management experience.

CL Larragoite


Dr. Michael Johnson

"...most recently worked as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and was also director of cabinet affairs for former Gov. Bill Richardson" Great, another political hack with lots of cronies, but no real job experience except working for an incompetent draft dodger and a corrupt Guv. She's feel right at home with #ResistMalevolentMichelle.

kyle renfro

of course a political hack who knows nothing about Homeland Security

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