New Mexico's Susana Martinez Elected the First Latina Governor in the U.S.

Susana Martinez of New Mexico is the first Latina governor in the United States, beating incumbent Gov. Bill Richardson's handpicked successor, Diane Denish with 54% of the vote.

We wanted to find out more about this woman who just made history. Here's what we found out about Martinez:

Who is she? Martinez has been the District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District in Doña Ana County, New Mexico for 13 years. She was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Las Cruces, NM in 1986. Her husband, Chuck Franco, is the Undersheriff of Doña Ana County. She has one stepson, Carlos, who is in the United States Navy. She is 51 years old.  

What are her qualifications? Martinez received her Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from the University of Texas-El Paso in 1981 and graduated with a Law degree from the University of Oklahoma, Norman in 1986. She's been the District attorney in Las Cruces since January of 1997, winning four elections back-to-back. Before becoming the DA, she was an attorney for the Children, Youth and Families Department.

What are her accomplishments? Martinez successfully championed Katie’s Law. The legislation is named after Katie Sepich, a 22-year old woman whose killer Martinez prosecuted. The law requires DNA samples to be collected for violent felony arrests and entered into a database. In 2008, Heart Magazine named Susana “Woman of the Year” for her dedication to children’s advocacy.

What does she stand for? Martinez is a conservative Republican and a pro-life Christian candidate. She opposes elective abortion as well as same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. Martinez is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and lower government spending. She wants to increase funding for local law enforcement and will seek to repeal state laws that provide illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses. She also seeks to deny access to higher education through the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship for children of undocumented immigrants.

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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