New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is no stranger to Townhall readers. We featured Martinez in the December 2011 issue of Townhall Magazine for her bold leadership in New Mexico and humble background. Before becoming governor, Martinez worked as a prosecutor on child abuse and child homicide cases. Growing up, her parents owned a small security business in Texas, where she worked as a teenager. She is the first woman to ever be elected Governor of New Mexico and the first female Hispanic to be elected Governor in U.S. history. She is a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, the rule of law and recently received a perfect score on her renewed concealed carry range test. During her time as Governor, Martinez has fought against the distribution of driving licenses for illegal immigrants. She is one of the most popular governors in the country with an approval rating of 54 percent, in a state where Republicans are outnumbered 3-1. When she came into office, Martinez inherited the largest structural deficit in New Mexico history. Working with the state legislature controlled by Democrats, Martinez turned that deficit into a surplus without raising taxes. She's a leader, not a follower.
Tonight in Tampa, Martinez's speech was personal.
"My mom did the books at night. And at 18, I guarded the parking lot at the Catholic Church bingos. Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself. I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum — that gun weighed more than I did! My parents grew that small business-from one 18-year-old guarding a bingo-to more than 125 people in three states. And sure, there was help along the way. But my parents took the risk. They stood up. And you better believe that they built it," she said. "Success is the American Dream."
Martinez explained her transition from the Democratic party to the Republican party after having dinner with conservative friends.
"Before I ran for District Attorney, two Republicans invited my husband and me to lunch. And I knew a party-switch was exactly what they wanted. So, I told Chuck, we’ll be polite, enjoy a free lunch and then say goodbye. But we talked about issues-they never used the words Republican, or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We talked about many issues, like welfare – is it a way of life, or a hand-up? Talked about the size of government — how much should it tax families and small businesses? And 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,'" she said.
With the credibility of gaining results after reaching across the aisle in her state, Martinez told America why she thinks Mitt Romney should be elected in 2012 and focused on President Obama's broken promises.
"We came together – in a bi-partisan manner-and turned that deficit into a surplus, all without raising taxes. That’s not the kind of leadership we are seeing from President Obama," she said. "He promised to bring us all together, to cut unemployment, to pass immigration reform in his first year and even promised to cut the deficit in half in his first term. Do you remember that? But he hasn’t come close. They haven’t even passed a budget in Washington, DC in three years! If he can take credit for government building small businesses, then he can accept responsibility for breaking his promise and adding 5 trillion dollars to the national debt."
Martinez was rumored to be on Mitt Romney's short list of VP selections and it is speculated she will run for president in 2016.