In 2010, Susana Martinez was elected governor of the State of New Mexico. She became New Mexico’s first female governor and the first Hispanic female elected governor in the history of the United States. Prior to being elected governor, Martinez was a prosecutor for 25 years in Dona Ana County. As Governor, she has prioritized keeping New Mexico’s communities safe, ensuring students receive a quality education, and diversifying and improving the economy.
When Governor Martinez took office she inherited a nearly half-billion dollar budget deficit. Through responsible spending and expanding and diversifying the economy she has turned the largest structural deficit in state history into a surplus – while refusing the call to raise taxes. In fact, Governor Martinez has cut taxes and fees 57 times since taking office.
Governor Martinez has also bolstered New Mexico’s closing fund and job training program, which were nearly dormant when she took office. She streamlined regulations and reduced red tape – making New Mexico more business friendly. As a result of these tools, reforms and investments, New Mexico continues to recruit global and national companies like Facebook, Keter Plastic, Safelite and others, while helping homegrown businesses like Skorpios, UBiQD, Descartes Labs, Risksense and others grow and thrive as well.
The Governor is also committed to improving education for every student in New Mexico through bold reforms and initiatives. She has invested a record high amount in Pre-K programs across New Mexico. In fact, Pre-K programs are funded five times the amount they were funded at when she took office. In 2018, she signed legislation to increase the minimum salaries for teachers across the state. As a result of the Governor’s investments and reforms in education, high school graduation rates are breaking state records and more students than ever before are taking Advanced Placement courses.
Ensuring that New Mexicans feel safe in their homes and communities is also very important to Governor Martinez. For years, she has fought to make sure law enforcement officers have the tools they need to get criminals off the street and put them behind bars where they belong. She has focused on targeting dangerous repeat offenders, supporting law enforcement and courts, and protecting New Mexico’s children. In 2018, she also signed the budget which provided for $3.6 million for salary increases for State Police officers in order to help crack down on crime across the state. As DA, Martinez fought to pass “Katie’s Law” which requires a DNA sample to be taken from anyone arrested for a violent felony in New Mexico. As Governor, she signed the expansion of that law requiring a DNA sample for all felony arrests.
Martinez comes from a hard-working, middle class family. Her father and mother started a security guard business with very little in their pockets, building their business with Susana’s mother doing paperwork in the family kitchen and Susana working as a security guard while attending college during the day. Martinez was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and has made Las Cruces her home since the 1980s. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and later earned her law degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.
Her husband, Chuck Franco, concluded his three-decade career in law enforcement serving as the Doña Ana County undersheriff. Her stepson Carlo is a veteran of the United States Navy’s special operations and is currently a student at the University of New Mexico and working with the city of Albuquerque. Martinez is also caretaker to her older sister Lettie, who has cerebral palsy and is developmentally disabled.