Head of New Mexico Department of Veterans Services resigns

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Sonya Smith, head of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, said she will step down Friday to spend more time with her family.

Smith has been the Veterans Services’ cabinet secretary since October 2020 after previously working as a special projects manager at the state Department of Health.

With the Department of Veterans Services, Smith supported the enactment of an income tax exemption for armed forces retiree pensions.

She is credited with successfully galvanizing the state’s pushback against a nationwide Veterans Administration proposal to close 700 community-based outpatient clinics, including four in New Mexico.

Smith also oversaw the department’s launch of a transportation program that provided free round trips for veterans from 15 New Mexico counties to any VA-approved medical appointment.

A veteran of the Gulf War, Smith served as a medical technician in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a member of the Air Force Reserve.

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