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Head of New Mexico Department of Veterans Services resigns

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services says she will step down Friday to spend more time with her family. Sonya Smith has been the department's cabinet secretary since October 2020 after previously working as a special projects manager at the state Department of Health. With Veterans Services, Smith supported the enactment of an income tax exemption for armed forces retiree pensions. She's 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.