Bush Administration Adviser to Lead Ducey's Office of Youth, Faith, and FamilyEXPAND

Bush Administration Adviser to Lead Ducey's Office of Youth, Faith, and Family

Governor Doug Ducey has appointed a new leader for the Governor's Office of Youth, Faith, and Family, replacing his politics-minded friend who quit in June and is now running a congressional campaign.

The new GOYFF director is Maria Fuentes, a former advisor in the Labor and Justice departments for the George W. Bush administration. She currently works in Washington for Casey Family Programs, a national child-welfare group.

GOYFF was created by former Governor Jan Brewer to provide staffing for eight Governor's Office commissions, offering services and guiding policy on social issues from substance abuse to domestic violence.

Fuentes is a native Puerto Rican who also served in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and worked previously with the Jewish human-rights group B'nai B'rith International, according to the governor's written statement about the appointment on Thursday.

"Her extensive background working with community and family-based programs and proven policy expertise will be great assets at the head of this important office," Ducey said in the statement.

At Casey Family Programs, Fuentes "furthered the foundation’s mission to safely reduce the number of children in foster care and improve well-being outcomes of children and families."

With a background like that, you're probably wondering what she thinks of President Trump, who was endorsed by Ducey last year, and Trump's positions on Puerto Rico and human rights.

But Fuentes could not be reached at her D.C. office or in Arizona on Thursday. The governor's office staff was unable to provide a photo of her.

“It’s an honor to join Governor Ducey’s team, especially in a position to serve our most vulnerable children and families," Fuentes said in the statement.

Fuentes replaces Debbie Moak, a former schoolteacher who founded the politically tied notMyKid organization that boasts Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery as a board member and Ducey's wife, Angela Ducey, as an auxiliary board member. Her husband, Steve Moak, was a one-time Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona in 2010.

While GOYFF director, Moak campaigned heavily against Arizona's cannabis-legalization ballot measure, Prop 205, which became the only one of five adult-use cannabis measures in 2016 that was rejected by voters.

After Moak's sudden departure from her position in June, New Times learned that GOYFF authorized a grant worth up to $600,000 last year to notMYkid as part of a package of federal grant money that went to Arizona nonprofits. Moak recused herself from supervising the grant process, records show.

Moak recently announced that she's working as campaign chair for Seth Leibsohn, an AM radio talk-show host who's running as a Republican candidate for Arizona's Ninth Congressional District. Leibsohn's the chairman of notMYkid and former chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the group that defeated Prop 205.

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