Team includes former Farmington City Councilor Jason Sandel

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FARMINGTON — Several Four Corners-area residents have been appointed to the transition teams for Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Transition teams engage with key stakeholders and government agency personnel, according to press releases from Lujan Grisham’s office. These teams also provide strategic recommendations on improving state government operations.

Former Farmington City Councilor Jason Sandel, who is the vice president of operations at Aztec Well Servicing, has been appointed to serve on the transition team for the New Mexico Environment Department. Sandel served as a Farmington city councilor from 2006 to 2014.

Gobernador-area rancher and activist Don Schreiber, who has campaigned for strict rules regarding venting and flaring from natural gas wells, was appointed to the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department transition team.

Mark Freeland, currently a staff assistant for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, was appointed to the transportation department’s transition team. Freeland also will be among the new faces on Navajo Nation council next year. He was elected in November to represent several chapters in the Eastern Agency, including Becenti, Crownpoint, Huerfano, Lake Valley, Nageezi, Nahodishgish, Tsé 'íí'áhí and Whiterock. He will be joined on the transportation team by Genevieve Jackson, a McKinley County Commissioner who is also a member of Navajo Nation and formerly served on the Navajo Nation council.

Alray Nelson, a member of Navajo Nation who has lived with his partner in Gallup for the past nine years, will serve on the Indian Affairs team. Nelson is a member of the organization Diné Equality. He has advocated for the tribe to repeal its ban on same-sex marriage. While on the transition team, he will help guide policy to create an Indian Affairs Department that is responsive to all tribes within New Mexico. Nelson assisted in both the Joe Shirley Jr. campaign for tribal president and Lujan Grisham’s campaign for governor. He described Lujan Grisham as a governor who shares his values as a New Mexican.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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