News Column

New Mexio's Governor-Elect's Team Takes Shape

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While much of the public attention on the administration of Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has focused on her choices to fill Cabinet posts, she also has been assembling a group of behind-the-scenes people who are just as important to the inner workings of state government.

So far, her executive team includes two former state lawmakers, a former legislative aide, two lawyers, a small-business vice president and a spokesman.

Several worked on the Las Cruces Republican's successful campaign. However, some just met her during the job-interview process. The average age of the team members is 36.2.

The employees' salaries have yet to be decided, a spokesman said, as Martinez is still reviewing the budget for the Governor's Office. She plans to reduce the combined salary expenses of the office by 10 percent from that of the current administration, spokesman Danny Diaz said.

Her team members include:

KEITH GARDNER

Position: Chief of staff

Hometown: Roswell

Age: 43

Education and experience related to job: Gardner is currently the New Mexico House of Representatives minority whip, a post from which he plans to resign.

He is the managing partner of Sprint Sports Rehabilitation Clinic in Roswell.

Goals: "To assist Governor Martinez in her efforts to lead an efficient, streamlined state government and to foster a pro-growth economic agenda that creates jobs for New Mexicans."

Why he accepted this job: "It is exciting to be part of a team that will help bring the bold change to New Mexico that Gov.-elect Martinez pledged during the campaign. We have the opportunity to provide meaningful improvements in the lives of New Mexicans."

RYAN CANGIOLOSI

Position: Deputy chief of staff for boards and commissions, constituent services and Cabinet

Hometown: Albuquerque

Age: 39

Education and experience related to job: Cangiolosi most recently served as director of personnel for the transition and was campaign manager for Martinez's gubernatorial campaign. He was vice president and business manager of Jalapeno Corp., an oil and energy company connected with state GOP chairman Harvey Yates. He also is an officer in the Naval Reserve.

Cangiolosi has a bachelor of arts and a master's of business administration from The University of New Mexico.

Goals: "To ensure that the Governor's office and New Mexico's state government are responsive to the people, that the process of staffing boards and commissions is efficient, and that these entities produce positive results for New Mexico."

Why he accepted this job: "I look forward to employing my skills and experience in management to benefit the State of New Mexico and help Gov.-elect Martinez implement her plans of a more efficient and effective government."

BRIAN MOORE

Position: Deputy chief of staff and legislative director for policy and Cabinet

Hometown: Clayton

Age: 58

Education and experience related to job: Moore, a former state representative, was director of policy planning for the Martinez transition team. Moore owns a grocery store in Clayton and was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2010.

Goals: "To ensure that we produce pro-growth economic policies that create jobs throughout New Mexico, as well as ensure that every child has access to a quality education, with resources focusing on investment in the classroom."

Why he accepted this job: "I'm excited to work on behalf of the Martinez Administration with the legislature in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to the state's budget crisis, to reform education, and end the fraud and abuse that has plagued Santa Fe in the past."

SCOTT DARNELL

Position: Communications director

Hometown: Farmington

Age: 26

Education and experience related to job: Darnell is a former communications director for the state Republican Party.

He graduated from UNM and received a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He most recently completed his work as a teaching fellow in the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Goals: "To assist Gov.-elect Martinez in the communication of her decisions, plans and priorities to the people of New Mexico, and to keep the public informed on the activities of state government."

Why he accepted this job: "It is an honor to serve on an executive leadership team that will help Gov.-elect Martinez bring bold change and necessary reform to New Mexico; our state is rich in history and tradition, and I'm excited to assist the governor-elect in communicating her vision for the future and the execution of her plans for turning our state around."

JESSICA HERNANDEZ

Position: General counsel

Hometown: Albuquerque

Age: 30

Education and experience related to job: Hernandez most recently was a director in the litigation department in the Albuquerque office of Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, PA. There, she specialized in cases involving product, premises and general liability matters.

A UNM grad, Hernandez was the youngest member of the New Mexico State Bar in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Goals: "To serve and assist Gov.-elect Martinez as she seeks to enact bold change in New Mexico by providing sound legal advice and fostering the highest standard of ethics in the state government's dealings with the public."

Why she accepted this job: "Gov.-elect Martinez has an inspiring story of service and a commitment to moving New Mexico in a new direction; it is an honor to support her and be a part of achieving real, lasting results for New Mexico families."

MATTHEW STACKPOLE

Position: Assistant general counsel.

Hometown: Albuquerque

Age: 28

Education and experience related to job: Stackpole, a UNM grad, served as director of support and coordination for the transition and as deputy director of campaign operations for the campaign. He previously worked with Richard Berry's campaign for mayor of Albuquerque and has done field operations for the Republican Party of New Mexico.

Goals: "To assist the general counsel in providing legal advice to Martinez as she seeks to balance the state budget, reform our education system, end the corruption that has plagued New Mexico and create jobs for New Mexicans."

Why he accepted this job: "I believe in the mission of Gov.-elect Martinez -- a district attorney for 13 years -- to end the practice of 'pay to play' corruption that has unfortunately become all too common in New Mexico."

MATT KENNICOTT

Position: Director of policy and planning

Hometown: Santa Fe

Age: 30

Education and experience related to job: Kennicott served as the director of legislative and constituent affairs on the transition team and worked on the campaign as well. He's a former chief of staff for the New Mexico House of Representatives Republican caucus.

Goals: "Two major goals I would like to be a part of achieving would be to close the budget shortfall and improve the student achievement gap in New Mexico classrooms."

Why he accepted this job: "This is an exciting time in our state's history and New Mexicans have asked for serious change in the policies of state government; it is exciting to have the opportunity to help produce policies that will better the lives of New Mexico families."

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