Gov.-Elect Lujan Grisham Announces Key Office Staff

Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham

From the Office of Gov.-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham:

SANTA FE — Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today the leadership and organizational structure of her Governor’s Office.

“This is a new way of doing business, and a better way,” Gov.-elect Lujan Grisham said. “We are working within the current budget for the office to create a dramatically new dynamic where highly talented people are put to their best use in developing and executing our goals and our vision.”

The governor-elect named John Bingaman her chief of staff and Teresa Casados her chief operating officer, co-equal top staff who will split management and supervision of different branches of the office. Both report directly to the governor-elect.

Bingaman will oversee the development of policy and legislation, supervising policy advisors and directors, the legislative team, communications, legal operations within the office and boards and commissions.

Casados will oversee the implementation of policy and legislation, liaising with cabinet secretaries, cabinet affairs, various issue-specific czars and constituent services.

“I’m honored and thrilled the governor-elect has chosen me to help fulfill her vision of an open, accessible, customer-focused, responsive and accountable state government,” Bingaman said. “People are coming forward across this state and stepping into public service roles, filled with energy and enthusiasm, to help move New Mexico forward. I stand ready to work with these talented individuals to give the governor-elect everything she needs in creating a thriving New Mexico.”

Bingaman is the managing principal of Iron Creek Partners LLC, a private investment partnership based in Santa Fe. Bingaman serves as board chairman for Iron Creek’s two portfolio companies, both in the software industry. Bingaman served as executive chairman of SambaSafety, a homegrown Albuquerque company and the leading provider of driver risk management software in North America, from 2011 through 2016. Under Bingaman’s leadership, SambaSafety grew significantly, and he helped shepherd SambaSafety through its successful sale to a third-party investor group in 2016.    

Prior to founding Iron Creek’s predecessor entity in 2009, Bingaman was an investment professional with Quadrangle Group LLC, a private investment firm based in New York City, where he was involved in numerous transactions in various sectors of media, communications and business services. Prior to joining Quadrangle, he was with Salomon Smith Barney, in the investment banking division.

Bingaman earned a bachelor of arts magna cum laude in economics from Harvard College. He resides with his family in Santa Fe. Bingaman is actively involved in the community, having served as the board vice chair and as a board director for Santa Fe-based non-profit organizations NDI New Mexico and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, respectively.

“I’m excited to see the governor-elect’s framework for this office in action,” Casados said. “Under her leadership, we will have the right people in the right places, and the result will be a streamlined, steady and productive environment where her vision comes to fruition.”

Casados is the director of senior services at Santa Fe County. An experienced manager and leader with a diverse background at different levels of government, in her current role Casados manages the day-to-day operations of the county’s senior and community centers, develops program goals and performance criteria and oversees working relationships with providers and outside organizations, among other duties. Casados previously served as director of operations at the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, where she implemented an organizational restructuring and increased the efficiency of support services. She was executive administrator of the Burrell Group, where she managed office operations to ensure productivity across different start-up companies like Burrell Western Resources and the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Across her career in state government, she served as deputy secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions, responsible for the workforce services bureau, labor relations division, business services division, and economic research and analysis bureau, and she was also deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Bill Richardson from 2008 to 2009. Other roles in the office of the governor included director of operation and human resources; director of personnel; and executive assistant to the chief of staff. Casados earned a degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

The governor-elect also announced today the following upper-level hires within the governor’s office:

  • Dominic Gabello as senior advisor for policy, strategy and communications. Gabello was chief of staff in the governor-elect’s Congressional office from 2013 to October 2017. He was the governor-elect’s gubernatorial campaign manager and is the director of her transition.
  • Matthew L. Garcia as general counsel. Garcia has served as plaintiff’s counsel in civil rights cases, personal injury suits and employment matters over the past decade as one of New Mexico’s top civil rights attorneys. He obtained his J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2005 and earned a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He completed postgraduate research while on a Fulbright Scholarship at the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland.
  • Stephanie Kean as senior policy advisor for education. Kean is an urban planner with experience in community engagement and policy. She served as a field representative in the governor-elect’s Congressional office with a portfolio focused on education, immigration, military affairs and the national laboratories. Kean was also Congressional Hispanic Caucus liaison in the Congressional office and a former Provost Fellow at the University of New Mexico.
  • Mariana Padilla as director of the Children’s Cabinet. Padilla served as district director in Lujan Grisham’s Congressional office, leading policy and constituent services efforts in the state. A community and natural resources planner who has extensive experience working with local, tribal and land grant communities throughout New Mexico on a variety of community development, environmental, infrastructure and public policy efforts, Padilla is also a former elementary school teacher and has taught within the public and private school systems, as well as led teacher professional development trainings. In addition, Padilla has served as a foster parent for the Children Youth and Families Department.
  • Victor Reyes as legislative director. Reyes was the governor-elect’s deputy campaign manager and, previously, served as a senior staff member for the Senate Majority Caucus and as the legislative director for Conservation Voters New Mexico.
  • Matt Ruybal as director of constituent relations. Ruybal served in the same capacity in the governor-elect’s Congressional office.
  • Tripp Stelnicki as director of communications. Stelnicki was the City Hall and Santa Fe County reporter with the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • Jane Wishner as executive policy advisor for health and human services. An attorney with litigation, policy and research experience, Wishner was a founding member of the law firm now known as Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A.; served as an assistant attorney general as a white collar criminal prosecutor; and founded and served as the executive director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center. Most recently, Wishner was a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where she led or co-authored numerous research reports, journal articles and briefs related to healthcare access, Medicaid, the private insurance market and the Affordable Care Act.
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