August 2013

Susana Martinez, First Latina Governor

Governor Susana MartinezGovernor Susana Martinez

Governor Susana Martinez
Governor Martinez met with students at an awards ceremony at Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Susana Martinez is the first female governor of New Mexico in the state’s 100-year history. Her heritage also makes her the first Latina, or Hispanic female, governor in the United States.

Governor Martinez became known to many outside New Mexico when she spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention. At the time, she was rumored to be a possible vice-presidential candidate for Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for President. Since then, Martinez has been asked many times if she would run for President in 2016. She has consistently answered “no,” stating that she would rather stay focused on New Mexico.

Susana Martinez grew up in El Paso, Texas. Her grandparents came to the United States from Mexico. Her father was a talented amateur boxer and deputy sheriff of El Paso County. When Martinez graduated from high school, she was one of the top students in her class. She went on to study criminal justice and earned a degree in law. Before she was elected governor, she served as the District Attorney for Doña Ana County, New Mexico, for fourteen years.

Education is a priority for Governor Martinez. She increased state spending on a program called “New Mexico Reads to Lead.” The program’s goal is to teach children to read well by fourth grade. Governor Martinez also wants to hire more math and science teachers in New Mexico schools. She is proud to say that since she has been governor, New Mexico’s high school graduation rate has grown from 63 to 70 percent.

This summer, Governor Martinez faced a great challenge when New Mexico suffered some of the largest forest fires in its history. The fires grew so large that she called in firefighters from other states to help put them out. She is looking into better ways to manage New Mexico’s forests to help prevent these fires in the future.

Governor Martinez is running for reelection this year. If she wins, she will be governor of New Mexico for another four years. After that, people may ask the question again, “Will you run for President?”

Image credit: ©Susan Montoya Bryan/AP Images
Question 1
Who is Susana Martinez?

Question 2
What percent of students in New Mexico graduate from high school?

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