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AZTEC — A San Juan County man has been appointed to serve on a committee focused on economic recovery as the state looks at easing coronavirus-related business restrictions in the future.

Jason Sandel, the executive vice president of the Aztec Well family of companies, is one of 15 people from various regions of the state who will serve on the Economic Recovery Council.

Sandel said he is honored to be asked by the governor and the administration to be working collaboratively with other people in the state to look at how they can promote economic recovery in the state, the nation and the world.

Sandel said he is going in with his eyes open to the large responsibility the Economic Recovery Council has.

Sandel is a former Farmington city councilor and has also served on various state committees, including the Methane Advisory Panel and the Energy Transition Act committee.

He has also served as chairman of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, vice-chairman of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool, vice-chairman of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange and as a member of the New Mexico Economic Development Commission. He is currently a NMOGA board member.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has instructed the Economic Recovery Council to have science-based discussions that look at data and public-health research, according to a press release. The council must also receive regular input from state public health authorities and the Medical Advisory Team.

“I know how hard this has been on everybody. New Mexicans’ resilience is being tested now more than ever, but we will come out of this with the resolve we need to heal and thrive again,” said Lujan Grisham. “If we’re smart and patient about how we move forward, New Mexicans can show the rest of the country how it’s done.”

According to the press release, reopening will take place in phases and the state is now in the first phase — preparation.

The Economic Recovery Council’s chairman is Brian Moore, who co-owns Ranch Market in Clayton and previously served as a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives. The council will be co-chaired by Christina Campos, the administrator of Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa and past chairwoman of the New Mexico Hospital Association Board of Directors. She also led the NMHA Protecting Access to Rural Communities committee.

Other council members include:

  • Jason Harrington: CEO of HB Construction
  • Brian O’Leary: Senior vice president of tax counsel for NBCUniversal 
  • Peter Trevisani: CEO and majority owner of the New Mexico United soccer team
  • Sally Stahmann-Solis: CEO of Stahmann Farms in Las Cruces
  • Liddie Martinez: president of the Los Alamos Region and director of Community Engagement for the Enterprise Bank & Trust in Española
  • Allan Affeldt: Hospitality entrepreneur and philanthropist who owns the Historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas
  • Mark Fidel: Co-founder of RiskSense
  • Staale Gjervik: President of XTO Energy
  • Vince Alvarado: President of New Mexico Federation of Labor/AFL-CIO
  • Phoebe Suina: Owner of High Water Mark 
  • Carri Phillis: Founder The Salt Yard and Effex Nightclub in Albuquerque
  • Jeremy Turner: Director of New Mexico Project Development for Pattern Energy

The state Republican Party criticized the creation of the Economic Recovery Council in a press release. 

"The governor's establishment of an "economic council" to decide how to phase in business activity is a poor excuse to "resolve" the problem," the press release states. "How will decisions be made? Which businesses will get priority? Why should they get priority? Where in the state? No answers. The governor seems to be passing the buck to a group that will now advise her."

Lujan Grisham's announcement of the Economic Recovery Council came as she also extended business restrictions through May 14

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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