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The Latest: Lawmaker wants hearing on Cabinet firing

July 24, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the dismissal of New Mexico’s education secretary (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Republican State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado of Valencia is asking for a special legislative hearing about the recent dismissal of New Mexico’s top public education official.

Baldonado said in a letter Wednesday that the governor’s decision to dismiss Karen Trujillo as public education secretary was drastic and has triggered confusion and concern across the state. He wants to know more about why the secretary was removed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and how soon a successor may be named.

It was unclear if the Legislative Education Study Committee would agree to a hearing.

Democratic Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque is emphasizing the need to name a new secretary quickly amid multiple statewide education reform efforts.

She says the Cabinet change reflects a “gung-ho” attitude by the governor toward changes in public education.

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2 p.m.

New Mexico is conducting a nationwide search for a new public education chief, and officials with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration said Wednesday they’re optimistic they will find a candidate before the start of the school year.

The search was announced Monday when Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Public Education Secretary Karen Trujillo. She was picked for the job just months earlier by the first-year governor.

Lujan Grisham expressed dissatisfaction with progress on sweeping reforms.

Trujillo says she was blindsided and disappointed that the governor’s office didn’t really give her a reason.

The dismissal is reverberating through the department, with chief of staff Daniel Manzano submitting his resignation Tuesday. State lawmakers also have voiced concerns.

The shake-up comes as the administration deals with court-ordered mandates and a push to roll out extended learning times for students.

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