Susana Martinez is the Governor of the State of New Mexico. She was elected on November 2, 2010, pledging to cut wasteful spending, lower taxes to create more jobs, end “pay-to-play” practices and other corruption in government and fight to reform education. She was sworn in as Governor of New Mexico on January 1, 2011, making her the first Latina governor in United States history.
Prior to being elected Governor, Martinez was the District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico, a position she held for 14 years. Martinez was first elected to that office in 1996 and was re-elected three times, running unopposed for the office in 2008.
In addition to managing the second largest District Attorney’s office in the state, Martinez has personally tried some of the toughest cases, including child abuse and child homicide.
In fact, Katie’s Law is named after Katie Sepich, a 22-year old college student whose killer Martinez prosecuted and convicted. As District Attorney, Martinez fought hard to pass the legislation, which required a DNA sample to be taken from anyone arrested for a violent felony in New Mexico. After taking office as governor, she made it a top priority to expand Katie’s Law to require a DNA sample for all felony arrests. The expansion passed through the legislature with large bi-partisan support and was signed into law by Governor Martinez in April 2011.
In 2008, Heart Magazine named Martinez “Woman of the Year” for her dedication to children’s advocacy and her efforts to keep children safe. She has also twice been named New Mexico’s “Prosecutor of the Year.” In April 2011, Hispanic Business Magazine named Martinez “Woman of the Year” for her efforts to reduce the tax burden in New Mexico, get the state’s fiscal house in order, and promote a friendlier business environment that will allow employers to create jobs and hire New Mexico workers.
Martinez also has a record of battling public corruption. On her watch, the Doña Ana County Clerk was convicted of five felony charges of violating election code and a municipal court judge was convicted of voter fraud.
Martinez comes from a hard-working, middle class family. Her father and mother started a security guard business with $400 in their pocket, 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.
Her husband, Chuck Franco, concluded his three-decade career in law enforcement serving as the Doña Ana County Undersheriff. Her stepson, Carlo, recently served in the United States Navy and is currently a firefighter in Las Cruces and a student at New Mexico State University.