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.