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Lujan Grisham names retired colonel to head Veterans Services

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. (Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham/Facebook)

Retired U.S. Army Col. Donnie Quintana will be the new secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday.

Quintana, a 35-year military veteran with leadership experience in state government and the New Mexico National Guard, has served as deputy secretary and interim leader of the department since late October, working with former Secretary Sonya Smith and staff “to ensure a smooth and effective transition of leadership,” the governor’s office said in a news release.

“As a native New Mexican, a veteran, and a well-respected public servant, his background with both the constituents he serves and the intricacies of state government services will be invaluable,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “I am grateful for his continued service and look forward to what he will accomplish at the department.”

Smith announced in November that she was stepping down to spend more time with family.

Quintana’s background includes most recently working as the local government division director for the state Department of Finance and Administration. He also worked for the state Economic Development Department for 20 years and served as a brigade commander and chief of staff for the National Guard. He also served as the executive officer and corps commander senior mentor for the Afghan National Army during the war in Afghanistan.


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