Biden taps NM governor’s chief of staff for federal bench

By:  Julia Goldberg

President Joe Biden yesterday announced the nomination of Matthew L. Garcia, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief of staff, to the US District Court for the District of New Mexico. Garcia has held the position for the last two years after serving as its general counsel. He was previously in private practice. New Mexico US Sen. Martin Heinrich and US Sen. Ben Ray Luján, both Democrats, said in a joint statement they had recommended Garcia strongly to the president. “Mr. Garcia has built an impressive record of public service with a history as one of the state’s top civil rights attorneys,” the statement reads.” A University of New Mexico alum, with strong ties to the local legal community, Mr. Garcia will continue a proud legacy of fair-minded and committed federal judges in our state. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and colleagues in the Senate to advance this nomination and fill the vacancy in an expeditious manner.”

In other government personnel related news, Lujan Grisham announced several leadership appointments yesterday for the state Department of Workforce Solutions, Department of Transportation and Personnel Office. State Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, announced she is resigning her post, effective today, in order to care for a family member. Armstrong, during her four terms, has been widely recognized for her work on health care issues, including the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act. “My goal has always been to make quality healthcare accessible for all New Mexicans. From ensuring access to affordable prescriptions and contraception, to legalizing medical cannabis and compassionate options for the terminally ill, we’ve made incredible progress over the past eight years,” Armstrong said in a statement. “Thank you to my supporters and colleagues across the Roundhouse who helped make these victories for the people of our state possible.”