Press Release: State hires oil lobbyist to lead economic transition

Press Release: State hires oil lobbyist to lead economic transition

State hires oil lobbyist to lead economic transition

State’s procurement process leaves state Rep “appalled” 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lucas Herndon

April 28, 2023 Phone: 575.342.1505

Email: [email protected]

Albuquerque – Earlier this year the State’s Economic Development Department (EDD) awarded a $100,000 contract to Agenda Global, a New Mexico based lobby firm that represents a number of large oil and gas companies to lead efforts on creating “a concrete action plan for economic diversification away from the state’s current dependence on the oil and gas.” 

Gerges Scott, the specific member of Agenda Global’s team who has presented to EDD, also has ties to the Heartland Institute, a far-right national think tank most known for their disinformation campaigns and denial of climate change. 

Senate Bill 112 passed in 2021, tasked EDD with oversight in the development of the Sustainable Economy Task Force (SET Force) and the Sustainable Economy Advisory Council (SEAC). ProgressNow New Mexico reached out to members of the EDD, SET Force, SEAC and a State representative who worked on passing SB112, who were equally as surprised to find out about Agenda’s ties to oil and gas.

State Representative Angelica Rubio said, “Did the Economic Development Department only have one applicant for the RFP, and it so happened to be this guy? Or is EDD that out of touch with community stakeholders, that Mr. Scott is the person they felt confident enough in leading a multigenerational statewide process? SB112, which developed the Sustainable Economy Taskforce, came to be because of a multiracial, multigenerational, statewide community effort–through years of organizing in the community, in order to support frontline communities in a transition that the state desperately needs–and to ensure that communities wouldn’t be left behind.” Representative Rubio goes on to say, “I am absolutely appalled at how little effort was put into this process of finding the right candidate, that the same individual who is employed by companies that are responsible for poisoning our people, our land and our water is the same individual now being tasked with supporting New Mexico in diversifying away from oil and gas. Jokes really do write themselves.”


“The Sustainable Economy Task Force and the Sustainable Economy Advisory Council are charged with developing a strategic plan to transition our state economy away from reliance on natural resource extraction,” said James Povijua, Vice Chair of the Task Force and Chair of the Advisory Council. “I know that Secretary Keyes and the staff of NMEDD are dedicated to fulfilling the work of both the task force and the council to ensure a prosperous sustainable economy for all New Mexicans. I look forward to being involved, and believe it to be important, in vetting and selecting the next contractor to fulfill the work of the task force and council in this upcoming fiscal year.”


While researching this story, ProgressNow New Mexico also had questions about the procurement process used by EDD because it appears that in their contract, Agenda Global did not disclose they employed any state legislators or former state employees. Not only is Mr. Scott a former state employee, but current State Representative Joshua Hernandez is also an employee of Agenda Global


A spokesperson for EDD said, “The contract for outreach work regarding the Economic Development Department’s strategic plan was a competitive procurement that followed all state purchasing guidelines. Agenda LLC had the strongest presentation and the top proposal score of the three submittals. No one on the selection committee was aware that Agenda LLC has employees with current ties to state government, nor was this a requirement for disclosure. There was no conflict of interest in the awarding of this contract and the documents for the RFP were reviewed by the EDD’s procurement office as well as the General Services Department. The EDD has released all public materials related to this procurement and has been transparent and responsive to inquiries.”


You can read more about the details of our investigation here:



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