Guv names new Economic Development head

Gov. Susana Martinez tapped the city of Rio Rancho’s former economic development and business relations manager to head the state’s Economic Development Department. Martinez announced the appointment of Matt Geisel as the secretary-designate of the Economic Development Department on Tuesday. “Matt knows firsthand what it takes to bring new jobs and investment to our state,” Martinez said in a statement. “He was with me when we first met with executives from Facebook in the Bay Area; he’s a proven leader who will continue to spread the message that New Mexico is open for business.”

Geisel said he was “humbled and honored” by the governor’s appointment. “I’m looking forward to continuing efforts to diversify New Mexico’s economy,” Geisel said.

NM economic development secretary leaving position

Jon Barela is leaving his position as Economic Development Department secretary to head a non-profit aimed at promoting business at the border. Gov. Susana Martinez announced the news in a press release Monday morning. Martinez praised Barela on his way out in a statement. “Jon has been critical in helping us diversify our economy, and now, in his new position, he will be able to continue building on our record of success along the border,” Martinez said. “Because of our work, we’re less reliant on the federal government, and we’ve become a leader in international commerce and trade.

Pols abandon GOP DA candidate over risque websites

Web pages with salacious images that are part of the personal website of a District Attorney candidate in Doña Ana County caused at least three prominent elected Republicans to withdraw their names as co-hosts of an upcoming fundraiser. The homepage to Brad Cates’ website——shows a picture of the smiling candidate next to bulletpoints of his lawyerly credentials. But certain pages on Cates’ website—like one showing a picture of a seductive-looking blonde woman next to the words “Russia House” and another showing multiple photos of scantily clad women falling across the screen like a slot machine—are causing controversy. The pages have been passed around in certain Republican circles in recent days. Cates is a Republican hoping to replace Doña Ana District Attorney Mark D’Antonio, a Democrat, this fall.

Did NM come out ahead? Google pays $1 million as it leaves

After announcing last week that it is moving a Moriarty-based subsidiary to California, Google will pay back New Mexico $1 million for funds that went toward building infrastructure. “Though our Titan team is transitioning to the Bay Area, we entered into an agreement with the City and State in good faith,” Google government affairs manager Angie Wellings wrote in a statement to New Mexico Political Report. “We hope this payment allows the community to better position itself for the next wave of investments in Moriarty and in New Mexico.” The move comes nearly one year after the state Economic Development Department announced it was spending $1 million on infrastructure for a building for Titan Aerospace, the solar-powered drone manufacturer that Google bought in 2014. At the time, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that the investments would create between 200 to 300 new jobs.

A year later, Google leaves and NM wants its money back

In the wake of a surprise announcement that Google is moving a Moriarty drone manufacturer to Silicon Valley, the state is apparently scrambling to get back some of money it gave to aid a promise of 200-300 new jobs. Yesterday the Albuquerque Journal quoted Secretary Jon Barela assuring that the state would seek to enforce clawback provisions on Google and reap back “a very sizable portion” of taxpayer dollars from the tech giant. A spokeswoman with the department has not responded to repeated attempts by New Mexico Political Report seeking comment. What’s still unclear is exactly what type of clawbacks New Mexico is entitled to get back from Google, which purchased Titan Aerospace in 2014 amid much fanfare. On top of the crickets we’re hearing from the Economic Development Department, the governor’s office and Estancia Valley Economic Development Association also aren’t returning our calls on this specific question.