Aging and Long-Term Services

Michelle was the state’s leading advocate for senior citizens, veterans and disabled New Mexicans for 14 years as the Director of Agency on Aging and Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. She provided the leadership to accomplish a broad range of initiatives including:

Protecting Seniors:  Michelle fought to protect seniors from scam artists and helped them to remain in their homes. She strengthened consumer protection and led anti-predatory lending initiatives.

Nursing Home Watchdog: Michelle aggressively addressed poor quality care in nursing homes. When she got reports of abuse in nursing homes, she didn’t sweep them under the rug. She went undercover as a totally-dependent patient, exposed the wrongdoing, and took immediate action to keep senior citizens safe.

  • Expanded home and community-based long term care programs, making New Mexico the most progressive state in long term care funding and system design.
  • Expanded statewide Ombudsman resident advocacy program
  • Implemented undercover investigations — first of its kind anywhere in country
  • Closed multiple substandard facilities

Expanded Critical Services:  Michelle ensured services reached every corner of New Mexico, including rural towns, tribes and pueblos.

  • 210 senior centers and meal sites
  • In-home services and caregiver supports
  • Senior Olympics
  • Alzheimer’s programs
  • Volunteer programs: Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, RSVP

New senior programs: Michelle secured funding and fought for new programs and she led the effort to create the Uniform Healthcare Decisions Act and address end-of-life care issues.

  • Health insurance and benefits counseling
  • Pharmacy assistance
  • Mentorship programs, matching older adults with young families
  • Support for grandparents raising grandchildren

Advocating for Equal Rights: Michelle was an early advocate for the Hate Crimes Act and spearheaded efforts to recognize same-sex partners as legally qualified to make medical and healthcare decisions for their partners. New Mexico was the first state to include the provision in state law, and served as a model for other states.

Legal Services: Expanded programs for seniors offering free legal services, legal clinics and a statewide hotline

Department of Health

As the Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, Michelle managed the largest state agency in the state. She used the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of New Mexico families:

Healthy Schools:

  • Doubled the number of school-based health centers across the state
  • Banned junk food in schools
  • Fought the Bush Administrations abstinence-only agenda and implemented comprehensive, age- appropriate sex education in schools

Women’s Health:  Michelle fought to protect reproductive rights and increase access to birth control, family planning, women’s health care and increased funding to Planned Parenthood. Michelle personally helped many women access healthcare, including opening up her home and escorting them to appointments.

Medical Marijuana: Michelle successfully advocated for the enactment of medical cannabis legislation (Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act), creating a program within the Dept. of Health to administer the program

Nursing Facilities:  Michelle further expanded efforts to combat abuse and neglect in nursing facilities and residential programs, assuming control of or shutting down egregious facilities

Childhood Immunization: Increased New Mexico’s immunization rate by 14 percent in just two years, ensuring kids got a healthy start.

Safe Vaccine:  Michelle led the fight, with support from the medical community, to reduce exposure to thimerosal (Mercury) in flu vaccines protecting our children from potential health risks. New Mexico now has some of the strictest vaccine standards for mercury levels in the United States.

Behavioral Health Services:  Michelle spearheaded an agreement between several state agencies to streamline and prioritize behavioral services and care, including providers of services to victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Reducing Teen Pregnancy: The rate of teen pregnancy dropped by 19 percent from 1991 through 2006 when Michelle was Health Secretary.

HIV/AIDS:  Michelle created the HIV/AIDS Commission and successfully advocated for more money for HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment in New Mexico.

Domestic Partnership: Michelle fought for the Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act in the Legislature.

Hepatitis C Training:  Established Hepatitis C training with the University of New Mexico Hospital’s Health Services Center.

Veterans Services:  Surveyed and improved health services for New Mexico veterans.

Homeless Services: Michelle created a task force to improve access for the homeless to services such as Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps and general assistance.

Oral Health:  Established an Oral Health Advisory Council to improve New Mexico’s dental health care.

Rural Health Services: Michelle recruited 30 physicians to practice in rural New Mexico communities and secured funding to improve services at eight rural hospitals.

Inmate Health Services: Provided testing and counseling for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis to 100 high-risk women inmates.

Bernalillo County Commission

In just one year as a Bernalillo County Commissioner, Michelle helped bring accountability, transparency and ethics reform to County Government, paving the way for successful efforts to recruit new jobs and protect the environment.

New Leadership: Michelle helped change the way county government does business by leading the way to hire new managers and removing politics from the hiring process. She also supported a resolution giving the commission more accountability with control of hiring over top-level positions.

Ethics: Michelle fought to get rid of perks for county officials, and supported tough new ethics standards making complaints against county government open to the public, speeding up investigations of those complaints and barring former commissioners from doing business with the county for one year after they serve.

New Jobs: Michelle has led the way on the commission to attract new jobs and businesses to Bernalillo County. She pushed for incentives for business that create new jobs, and she worked with neighborhoods to ensure that new business was environmentally friendly.

  • Lowe’s: Approved Industrial Revenue Bonds and county incentives for a Lowe’s customer service center that should create more than 600 new jobs.
  • USC Bag Manufacturing: Pushing Industrial Revenue Bond to relocate to a new facility in the North Valley, allowing the company to add another 33 jobs.
  • Friedman Recycling: Pushing Industrial Revenue Bonds for a new recycling center in the North Valley that has a contract to handle the City of Albuquerque’s recycling needs. The center will create 35 new permanent jobs and 135 construction jobs.

Paseo del Norte: Michelle led an effort for Bernalillo County to ask voters to pitch in $5 million to rebuild the I-25/Paseo del Norte interchange. She played a key role in bringing city, county and state officials together to get the project off the ground. In addition to reducing accidents, traffic congestion and air pollution, the project is expected to pave the way for more than 3,000 jobs in the area during the next 20 years.

Milagro: Michelle led the effort to save Casita de Milagro by investing in services and forging an agreement between the county, state and University of New Mexico to continue to fund the program for pregnant substance abusers.

Removing Religion from County Government:  Michelle successfully fought efforts by the Republican Sheriff to mix religion with county government. The sheriff eventually agreed to stop the practice of holding sheriff’s deputy ceremonies at a place of worship, removing the perception that county government may be sanctioning specific religious beliefs.

Download a PDF version: Michelle Lujan Grisham Accomplishments