Tripp Stelnicki, who was Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s main spokesperson for three years, will leave this post at the end of the year.
Stelnicki, who submitted his resignation to Lujan Grisham on Dec. 10, said he had no immediate plans for the future other than moving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque.
“I’m looking forward to not knowing exactly what’s next,” said Stelnicki, a former journalist who worked for The New Mexican for more than three years before joining Lujan Grisham’s staff in late 2018.
In his resignation letter, Stelnicki said he would “resign to prioritize my mental health”. In that letter he wrote that he considered it a “privilege” to work for the governor.
“I may not always have met the standards that I set myself or that you set me, but I’ve tried every opportunity,” he wrote. “I stand by it and take responsibility for everything, and I hope that the good work outweighs the bad in the final bill.”
Stelnicki, who will turn 30 on Christmas Day, said he was still working on Lujan Grisham’s speech on the state of the state, which will open the 2021 legislative period in mid-January.
He said he admired the governor because “she is the ideal of a civil servant because she will not always be the politician. Perhaps she would be better off if she were.
“She’ll get involved in things that her employees should be doing. She talks to people and meets with people and gets calls from people and she wants to fix the problem. And she manages 9 out of 10 times. “
Stelnicki’s dry, dark humor often manifested itself when performing stand-up comedy in local clubs. His material ranged from the political to the social to the absurdities of everyday life.
In one of his standup bits from that year, he encouraged people who had not yet returned to work because of the pandemic not to go back to work. The worst thing they can do to you, he said, is send letters asking for payment.
“If someone asks about your creditworthiness, give them your horoscope,” he said.
But Stelnicki’s public statements on behalf of the governorship sometimes got him into trouble. In April 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic swept New Mexico, he posted a comment on Twitter referring to those seeking to reopen businesses as a “death cult”.
The comment drew criticism from Republican leaders across the state who called for an apology. He didn’t give them any.
“I was in hot water for a bit,” he said on Monday. “Nothing too monstrous.”
In a statement, Lujan Grisham praised Stelnicki’s “intelligence and strategic thinking” but said his biggest mistake was “he thinks he’s funnier than me”.
In the short term, Deputy Communications Director Maddy Hayden will head the communications office, wrote Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett.
Stelnicki, who makes more than $ 108,000 a year, said he had no immediate plans to return to either government or journalism.
“But who knows, in six months I might feel different,” he said. “At the moment I would like to mop floors.”