Susana Martinez

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Susana Martinez
31st Governor of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
LieutenantJohn Sanchez
Preceded byBill Richardson
Personal details
Born(1959-07-14) July 14, 1959 (age 53)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic Party (Before 1995)
Republican Party (1995–present)
Spouse(s)Chuck Franco
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
Alma materUniversity of Texas, El Paso
University of Oklahoma
ReligionRoman Catholicism
WebsiteOfficial website
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Susana Martinez
31st Governor of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
LieutenantJohn Sanchez
Preceded byBill Richardson
Personal details
Born(1959-07-14) July 14, 1959 (age 53)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic Party (Before 1995)
Republican Party (1995–present)
Spouse(s)Chuck Franco
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
Alma materUniversity of Texas, El Paso
University of Oklahoma
ReligionRoman Catholicism
WebsiteOfficial website

Susana Martinez (born July 14, 1959) is the 31st and current Governor of New Mexico.[1][2] Martinez, a Republican since 1995, is the first female governor of New Mexico[3] and the first female Hispanic governor in the United States.[4][5][6][7] Martinez was the Assistant District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District, serving Doña Ana County, New Mexico from 1986 to 1992. She served 14 years as District Attorney, from 1997 to 2011.[8]

She was considered a potential pick for Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket in 2012, but stated numerous times she would not run.[9][10][11] She is considered a potential candidate for the US presidential election in 2016.[12]


Early life and education

Susana was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Martínez comes from a middle-class family of Mexican descent. Her father, Jacobo "Jake" Martinez, was a boxer for the U.S. Marines during the Korean War, and he also won three straight Golden Gloves titles in the 1950s. He was a deputy sheriff for El Paso County, Texas.[13][14] Her mother, Paula Aguirre, worked in various offices. Martinez grew up with one sister and one brother.[14][15]

She attended El Paso's Riverside High School, where she was student body president.[14] She was a top student and graduated in 1977. She earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1981 and later earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1986.[16] Martinez met her husband, Chuck Franco, in Norman, Oklahoma, where they were both attending law school. She moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the mid 1980s.

Personal life

Martínez's husband, Chuck Franco, has been a law enforcement officer for more than 30 years and served as the Doña Ana County Undersheriff. Susana has one stepson, Carlo, who served in the United States Navy.[17]

On September 9, 2011, Martinez stated that she did not know whether her paternal grandparents immigrated to the country illegally.[18] On more thorough research it turned out that they appeared to follow the rules at the time and that she is a great-granddaughter of Mexican Revolutionary General Toribio Ortega.[19] On November 14, 2011, Martinez visited Cuchillo Parado, Mexico, for a celebration in honor of her great grandfather, "a revolutionary general who led a band of supporters credited as being the first to take up arms on Nov. 14, 1910 against a decades-long dictator."[19]

Political positions

In 1995, Martinez changed her membership from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.[20][21][22] On August 29, 2012, Martinez gave a speech to the Republican National Convention where she spoke right before Paul Ryan and described her decision to switch parties. She told the story that she was taken to lunch by Republican friends who wanted her to switch parties. She stated that she was only going to be polite, but when she left the luncheon with her husband, she had changed her mind. She told the convention, "When we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, ‘I’ll be damned – we’re Republicans."[23]


Martínez supports a balanced budget and lower government spending. She favors putting taxpayer money into a rainy day fund, and refunding taxpayers to attempt to stimulate growth.[24]


Martinez is pro-life and is opposed to elective abortion.[25]

Same-sex marriage

Martinez is opposed to same-sex marriage and civil unions.[26]


Martinez opposes New Mexico's medical marijuana program, but has indicated that repealing New Mexico's existing law is not a priority.[27]

Assistant District Attorney

Martinez was the Assistant District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District, serving Doña Ana County, New Mexico from 1986 to 1992.[28] As Assistant District Attorney she developed a specialty in the office of working with sexually abused children and developing a multidisciplinary team (that included help for victims) and she participated in seminars that would relate specifically to domestic violence and sexual offenses, rapes and women and children. Her first supervisor, Doug Driggers, who is now a state district judge in Las Cruces, spoke highly of her work.[14] Driggers promoted her to Deputy District Attorney.[14]

Deputy District Attorney

After being promoted to Deputy District Attorney, Martinez campaigned for Driggers as he was running for a third term as District Attorney. Driggers lost the Democratic primary election to Greg Valdez, a defense attorney. Martinez was fired by Valdez shortly after his election. Valdez fired Martinez the day she notified him that she had received a subpoena for a personnel hearing involving a DA investigator he had terminated. The Albuquerque Journal quotes Martinez as saying, "My first question to him when he handed me my (termination) papers was, 'Does this have to do with the (subpoena)?' ... And his response was, and I'll never forget it, 'I'm not going to tell you either way.' I grabbed my letter and I left."[14]

Valdez in a recent interview confirmed that he didn't give her a reason at the time. But he said he let her go for two reasons. On one case she handled, she had missed some key timelines, Valdez said. On another, she brought a case into the office on which her husband, Chuck Franco, was working."[28]

Martinez filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Valdez and was awarded an out-of-court settlement of $100,000-$120,000.[29]

She later twice defeated Valdez in the general election for District Attorney with approximate 18-point and 20-point wins respectively.[14]

District Attorney

Martinez was first elected district attorney in the 3rd Judicial District in 1996 with nearly 60% of the vote.[30] She was re-elected three times since.[31] As a prosecutor, Martínez focused on cases involving public corruption and child abuse.[32] Martinez also worked to pass legislation that would expand Katie's Law. This would "require a DNA sample for all felony arrests." While Governor of New Mexico, Martinez signed the expansion bill into law in April 2011.[8]

While District Attorney, Franco's relationship with Martinez was twice raised as a concern "when she had to decide whether officer-involved shootings were justified."[33] In 1992, Martinez was fired by then-district attorney Greg Valdez. Valdez stated that Martinez brought in a case that Franco was working on.[28] "A potential conflict of interest between Martinez and Franco was an issue in the late 1990s, when she first became district attorney. Franco was a magistrate judge, and some cases being prosecuted by the district attorney’s office were assigned to him. Franco was running for re-election in 1996, the same year Martinez first ran for DA. His Democratic opponent and others said there would be a conflict if both were elected. But Franco and Martinez said Franco would recuse himself from all cases involving the DA’s office."[33]


"A high-profile criminal racketeering prosecution by her office in 1999 did raise ethical issues of conflict of interest and whether she was personally biased against the defendants."[14]

"The state Supreme Court ultimately barred her office from prosecuting the case in 2005, after Martinez refused to refer the case to another DA's office and continued to appeal lower court rulings that went against her. The criminal charges were ultimately dismissed by a special prosecutor."[14]

"Martinez said in an interview that she didn't instigate the criminal investigation and that the high court found only an appearance of a conflict. To this day, she said, she wouldn't have done anything differently in the case."[14]


In 2003 and 2004, Martinez's office bought over $60,000 in supplies from a "top deputy district attorney who had a home-based office supply business."[14]

Martinez argued that the purchases were not put to a competitive bid, saved taxpayers money and were within the law. Officials of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration questioned whether the sales had a "public benefit," and also told the District Attorney's office to stop using the vendor.[14]


On December 22, 2006, Martinez along with a sheriff, announced that a convicted felon had confessed to the murder of Katie Sepich.[34]

Martinez supervised a budget of $6.3 million for 2008-09. During this time, the office had 80 employees. "It was the third-largest office in the state in terms of number of employees and cases prosecuted that year."[14]

In 2008, Heart Magazine named Martinez “Woman of the Year” for her dedication to children’s advocacy and her efforts to keep children safe.[31]


In March 2010, Martinez was named New Mexico's "Prosecutor of the Year" by the Prosecutors Section of the State Bar of New Mexico.[35][36]

2010 gubernatorial election


Susana Martínez won the Republican nomination for Governor of New Mexico in the primary election on June 1, 2010; she won 51% of the vote in a five-way contest. Martinez defeated PR firm owner Doug Turner, State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, Pete Domenici, Jr. (son of the former U.S. Senator from New Mexico Pete Domenici), and former Republican Party state chairman Allen Weh.[37] During the primary election campaign, Martínez was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.[38]


Martínez defeated Diane Denish in the general election in November 2010. One element of her platform was to secure the United States - Mexico border from illegal immigrants. The Martínez vs. Denish race and the simultaneous Mary Fallin vs. Jari Askins race in Oklahoma were the third and fourth cases of woman vs. woman gubernatorial races in U.S. history (after the elections of Kay Orr in Nebraska in 1986 and Linda Lingle in Hawaii in 2002).[39]

New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2010[40]
RepublicanSusana Martinez - John Sanchez321,21953.29%+22.10%
DemocraticDiane Denish - Brian Colon280,61446.55%-22.27%
RepublicanKenneth Gomez (write-in)9940.16%
Republican gain from Democratic

Governor of New Mexico (2011–Present)


2012 Budget

Since Susana Martinez has taken office, she has set out a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012,[41] as well as establishing a moratorium on all state vehicle purchases until 2012.[42] Martinez has also prohibited all state agencies from hiring lobbyists.[42][43]

Executive orders

On January 31, 2011 Governor Martinez signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico[44]


Martinez's counts among her legislative victories: "the cap on film credits; a bill that would exempt locomotive fuel from state gross-receipts tax; and an expansion of Katie's Law, which will require law-enforcement officials to obtain DNA samples from all suspects booked on felony charges."[45] In addition, Martinez also supported and signed a bill that will "assign schools the grades of A to F based on student achievement and other factors, such as high-school graduation rates. Martinez described her push for education reforms as 'a hard-fought battle against those who continued to defend the status quo.'"[45] In April, Martinez signed the expansion bill on Katie's Law.[8]


Martinez has pushed for an increase in private investment to complete the US$212 million state-funded[46] Spaceport America project. In order to drive the new effort, Gov. Martinez appointed an entirely new board of directors to oversee the Spaceport Authority.[47]

Supreme Court of New Mexico

In 2011, the Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled against actions by Martinez twice. "In January, the court unanimously decided that Martinez acted improperly when she requested the state's records administrator delay publishing greenhouse-gas emissions rules that the state Environmental Improvement Board approved shortly before she took office." In addition, a unanimous court ruled on April 13, 2011 that "Gov. Susana Martinez lacked authority to arbitrarily remove two members of the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board."[48]

Las Conchas Fire

As a result of the Las Conchas Fire, the second largest wildfire in state history, Martinez issued a state of emergency with regard to the use of fireworks.[49] After the Las Conchas Fire burned to within miles of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Martinez made the removal of radioactive waste a top priority.[50] As the fire contributed significantly to the flooding that followed, Martinez asked the Obama administration for federal relief funding.[51]

Tribal-State Summit

During 2011, Martinez attended her first "Tribal-State Summit," as required by New Mexico in which the governor meets with the 22 recognized tribes annually. The topics of discussion for 2011 were; tribal economic development and infrastructure, health care, natural resources, water, and education.[52]


Department of Health

The chief medical officer for the New Mexico Department of Health, and the deputy secretary, both resigned in 2012. The individuals allege that Martinez ordered their termination for promoting birth control to the public.[53] Martinez, and the New Mexico Department of Health, denied any connection between the resignations, and an interview concerning condom use.[54]

2012 V.P. speculation

Many Republicans speculated as to whether Martinez would be Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket in 2012, but she stated numerous times that she would not run.[9]

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire

On May 15, 2012, as a result of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire, Martinez declared the entire state of New Mexico to be in a drought. Martinez issued the formal drought declaration to help farmers, ranchers, and others secure federal drought funding. Martinez stated that in addition to "the work we’re doing at the state level to assist communities facing serious drought conditions, I’m hopeful this declaration will assist them in securing any available federal funding as well."[55][56] Martinez stated that "As a result of this fire, small businesses are unquestionably feeling the impact." As a result, she encouraged them to apply for SBA loans.[57] On June 8, Martinez declared Catron County, New Mexico to be in a state of emergency. The declaration made funds available for both state and local response to the fire, and for community needs.[58]

Tribal-State Summit

At the 2012 Tribal-State Summit, Martinez discussed; water rights, natural resources, education, and tribal economic development and infrastructure.[59] In the presence of Navajo President Ben Shelly, as well as several members of the Navajo Nation Council, Martinez announced that Central Consolidated School District will remain intact.[60]

Election history

Republican Gubernatorial Primary Election, 2010
 Susana MartinezRepublican Party62,00650.7%
 Allen WehRepublican Party33,72727.6%
 Doug TurnerRepublican Party14,16611.6%
 Pete Domenici Jr.Republican Party8,6307.0%
 Janice Arnold JonesRepublican Party3,7403.1%
Source: 2010 Election Results
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2008
 (I) Susana Martinez


Republican Party45,098100%
Source: 2008 Election Results
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2004
 Greg ValdezDemocratic Party25,61340%
 (I) Susana MartinezRepublican Party34,83860%
Source: 2004 Election Results
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2000
 Kent E. YalkutDemocratic Party13,87148%
 (I) Susana MartinezRepublican Party15,84352%
Source: 2000 Election Results
3rd Judicial District General Election, 1996
 (I) Greg ValdezDemocratic Party17,16741%
 Susana MartinezRepublican Party24,67259%
Source: 1996 Election Results


  1. ^ Memoli, Mike. NM Gov: Martinez Wins GOP Nod, Real Clear Politics, June 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Davis, Susan. Political Trivia: New Mexico Marks a Milestone,Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "New Mexico elects nation's 1st Hispanic female governor". Associated Press. Houston Chronicle. November 3, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Mariela Rosario (November 3, 2010). "New Mexico's Susana Martinez Elected the First Latina Governor in the U.S". Latina. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Noreen Malone (November 3, 2010). "Susana Martinez, First Latina Governor, Will Be Tough on Border Security". Slate. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  6. ^ Sharyl Stockstill (November 3, 2010). "New Mexico elects Susana Martinez, first female Hispanic governor". Yahoo! News. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  7. ^ "Nation's first female Hispanic governor elected". MSNBC. November 2, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Susana Martinez - Governor of the State of New Mexico
  9. ^ a b "Gov. on VP: No means No". Albuquerque Journal. April 8, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "New Mexico Gov. Martinez says no to VP speculation". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  11. ^ "NM Gov. Susana Martinez for vice president? She says no (6:46 a.m.) - Las Cruces Sun-News". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Susana Martinez works to prove she's ready for state's top job". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Heild, Colleen. Tough As Nails, Albuquerque Journal, September 10, 2010.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Ramón Rentería (October 24, 2010). "'Bossy' El Paso girl Susana Martinez a born leader". El Paso Times. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "New Mexico Elects State’s First Woman Governor | West | United States". Epoch Times. 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  18. ^ "New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez Confirms that Grandparents Were Undocumented". Fox News Latino. September 9, 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  19. ^ a b Johnson, Luke (November 14, 2011). "Susana Martinez, New Mexico Governor, Releases Evidence On Her Grandparents' Immigration Status". Huffington Post.
  20. ^ A rising GOP star in Santa Fe
  21. ^ How to grab them, Susana Martinez shows how Republicans might one day woo Latinos, The Economist, December 17, 2011.
  22. ^ Doña Ana County undersheriff to blaze new trail as governor-elect's sidekick
  23. ^ Coleman, Michael. Martinez Earns Kudos for Convention Speech, Albuquerque Journal, August 31, 2012.
  24. ^ "Susana Martinez on Budget & Economy". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  25. ^ "Susana Martinez on Abortion". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  26. ^ "Governor Susana Martinez Unmoved On Same-Sex Marriage Despite Hairstylist Protest". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  27. ^ Milan Simonich (January 7, 2011). "New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to ignore marijuana law". El Paso Times. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  28. ^ a b c Susana Martinez works to prove she's ready for state's top job
  29. ^ [2]
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b "Our Candidates: Susana Martinez". Free & Strong America PAC. Retrieved 20 August 2010.[dead link]
  32. ^ "Meet Governor Martinez". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  33. ^ a b Martinez’s marriage to cop has led to conflict allegations
  34. ^ Police Get Break In Katie Sepich Murder KFOX-TV Dec. 22, 2006
  35. ^ "In Case Your Missed it! Martínez Named Prosecutor of the Year". Susana Martinez for Governor. March 4, 2010.ínez-named-prosecutor-of-the-year. Retrieved 20 August 2010.[dead link]
  36. ^ "Meet the Governor." New Mexico Office of the Governor Susana Martinez. 2012-01-29.
  37. ^ Massey, Barry (June 2, 2010). "Martinez wins GOP gubernatorial primary". Clovis News Journal. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  38. ^ Miller, Sean J. Palin helps New Mexico Republican win primary, The Hill, June 1, 2010.
  39. ^ "New Mexico Governor's Race: Milestone for Women, Test of Anti-Incumbent Mood - ABC News". 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  40. ^ "New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-11.
  41. ^ [3][dead link]
  42. ^ a b
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ a b Martinez touts gains, undaunted by setbacks
  46. ^ "New era draws closer: Spaceport dedicates runway on New Mexico ranch". El Paso Times. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2011-02-16. "two-thirds of the $212 million required to build the spaceport came from the state of New Mexico... The rest came from construction bonds backed by a tax approved by voters in Doña Ana and Sierra counties."
  47. ^ "Martinez pushes private funds for spaceport". Cibola Beacon. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-16. "Martinez said ... "New Mexico's taxpayers have made a significant investment in the Spaceport project. It's time to see the project through to completion by bringing in private funding.""
  48. ^ Court rules against Martinez in labor case
  49. ^ Gov. Martinez declares emergency on firework use
  50. ^ LANL Will Remove Radioactive Waste
  51. ^ Gov. Seeks Funds For Flood Help
  52. ^ Gov., Indian Leaders To Hold Summit Next Week
  53. ^ Haywood, Phaedra. "Health Official Says her Resignation was tied to Comments on Condom Use". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  54. ^ "Official resigns after condom comment". Fox News. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  55. ^ "Martinez issues drought declaration". American City Business Journals. May 17, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  56. ^ "Record-setting NM fire expected to burn for weeks". Kansas City Star. June 1, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  57. ^ "Fire-impacted small businesses urged to seek SBA loans". American City Business Journals. May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  58. ^ "NM governor declares emergency in Catron County due to fire". Las Cruces Sun-News. June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  59. ^ "Gov. Susana Martinez applauds tribal-state summit". KFDA-TV. June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  60. ^ "State won't split CCSD". Farmington Daily Times. June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within New Mexico
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
as Governor of Oklahoma
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside New Mexico
Succeeded by
Jan Brewer
as Governor of Arizona