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Sonya L. Smith named Veterans Services secretary in October


Sonya L. Smith was appointed secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NMDVS) by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Oct. 23, following the retirement of Judy M. Griego.

Sec.-Designate Smith is scheduled for a formal confirmation to the post when the 2021 New Mexico Legislature convenes in January.

Smith comes to DVS from the New Mexico Department of Health, where she served as a special-projects coordinator, specifically helping guide the efforts of the agency's COVID-19 testing team. Prior to that, Smith served as director of compliance of primary care programs at Southwest Care Center in Santa Fe; and before that, as the clinical compliance manager at the University of New Mexico’s Truman Health Services Clinic.

As a member of the United States Air Force Reserve, Smith served as a medical technician in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Upon receiving her honorable discharge, she earned a bachelor’s degree in health services management from Norfolk State University in her hometown of Norfolk, Virginia.

Smith testified before the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee Nov. 16, seeking approval of NMDVS’ proposed $4.9 million budget for fiscal year 2022.

The requested amount is needed to carry out NMDVS’ mandate to assist the state’s approximately 154,000 veterans and their families, NMDVS said in a news release.

“Our veterans deserve our agency’s very best efforts, especially after dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Smith said. “Now more than ever, we are determined to continue reaching out to our veterans and help them get benefits and services which could really make a positive impact in their lives.”

Contact NMDVS at 505-383-2400. Visit www.nmdvs.org.