SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Although it was freezing outside, hundreds gathered at the Santa Fe Plaza at 10 a.m. to see a historic moment take place -- the first woman Hispanic governor swear in.
People traveled from all across the state, some driving from hours away. Those in attendance said New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez's inauguration is history in the making.
"I think she's a woman of integrity," said Bernadette Granger from Hobbs, N.M. "I'm going to support somebody like that, even in the cold."
Martinez's inauguration included a special tribute from the Army National Guard and a traditional prayer dance.
For many, Saturday's celebration was a long time coming.
"She's had a great transition team, she's appointed some excellent people," said Caren Lulich from Las Cruces, N.M. "I think things will start turning around instantly."
Governor Martinez delivered this speech:
Fellow citizens of New Mexico, thank you for the great privilege of high office you have granted me and the important responsibilities you have entrusted to me. I am grateful to you beyond expression, and determined to make a difference on behalf of every one of you.
I assume the duties of Governor understanding this is a challenging time. Our state and its leaders must have the courage to make the kinds of changes that will positively impact people’s lives and put us back on a course toward prosperity.
I ask for your prayers today, and every day of my term in office that I might deserve your continued trust and support as I work with other public servants to move our beloved state in a new direction.
I am proud to be your new Governor. I am proud to have your trust at the beginning of my administration. But I will be much prouder if four years from now, I still have it. That is my highest aspiration: to prove worthy of your strength and support; to be fair and faithful and useful to the good people of New Mexico who have given me this opportunity.
I would like to take a moment to recognize the first gentleman of the State of New Mexico, my husband, Chuck Franco, in addition, my step son, Carlo who now becomes our state’s first son.
We are fortunate to have many distinguished guests with us today including Congressman Steve Pearce, Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez, Secretary of State Dianna Duran, among others. Unfortunately, the chairman of my inauguration, former Senator Pete Domenici, could not be with us today.
It is human to think on an occasion such as this of the personal journey that took you here. But it is a mistake to consider winning an election a personal triumph. You’ve given me the opportunity to help you make this beautiful state an even better home for our children. That is our shared ambition, and its accomplishment will be our shared success.
From this moment on, we must aspire together. Work together. Fight together. Triumph together. And today, only marks the first day of our journey together.
I am not a private citizen. I am your servant. And I am bound by duty and gratitude to put your interests before mine. The personal journey that brought me here has equipped me with the strength, determination and courage to be your good servant.
My family didn’t have a lot of money. My parents struggled much like families around New Mexico do today. But I was a child of privilege because I was born in the greatest country in the world. My parents gave me every advantage it was in their power to give: their love, their faith, their encouragement, their dreams and their courage. They grew old before their time working themselves so hard for us; so that we might live the dreams they dreamed for us.
I had teachers who cared about me, and wanted me to work harder for bigger goals than I thought I could achieve; to be more than I thought I could be. With so many blessings, so much love and encouragement, how could you not succeed in a country such as ours?
No matter the material circumstances of your birth, in America, anyone with hope, determination and courage should have the opportunity to succeed. Because I received those gifts from the people who loved and cared about me, I now have the privilege of being your Governor. And because I believe every child in New Mexico should have the opportunity to succeed, I asked for the privilege, and am very grateful to have it.
This is a great country, and New Mexico is a very special place. And though we are living through trying times, I can’t imagine any place on earth I would rather live.
New Mexicans have known hardships before, and overcome them. They’ve suffered setbacks before, and faced them undaunted. No generation has been free of adversity or excused from the responsibility of making our great state better. We can, we must and we will prevail over the adversity that confronts us now. We have a debt to honor from the generations that preceded us and a promise to keep to the generation that follows. Our parents built a future better than their past, and we must do the
We cannot just hang on. We cannot just endure misfortune and wait for our luck to change. We don’t wait on destiny here. We make our destiny. In New Mexico we will shape our own destiny and we won’t stand still. We will act. We will make our opportunities. We will dream. We will work. We will risk. We will improve. We will try. And if we fail, we will try harder.
We have much to do. Our challenges are many. And as each generation discovers for itself, our time is briefer than we once thought it would be. But there is no problem too hard for our imagination, our industry, our confidence and our freedom to overcome. We are equal to the task before us. We are bigger than our troubles. We are stronger than our obstacles. Have faith and courage, we will leave our state, our country and our world better than we found them.
We will grow an economy that offers opportunities to every New Mexican willing to seize them; that attracts new businesses and encourages existing businesses to grow and create new jobs; that rewards hard work and initiative; and that competes successfully with neighboring states because we have as much and more to offer.
No matter what steps we take to create jobs and increase opportunities, we cannot create sustained economic growth without rescuing public education. For years, we have bred a culture of poor performance and low expectations in New Mexico that denies our children the knowledge they need to have a fair chance to live their dreams.
By every measurement, we are failing them. Eighth grade reading and math scores are among the lowest in the nation. High school graduation rates are not acceptable. Turning this crisis around will not be easy and cannot be accomplished overnight. But it will be done. It must be done. There is no excuse; no hope for a better future, and no escape from the harsh judgment of history if we continue to fail in the critical responsibility of preparing our children for the challenges and opportunities that await them.
Nothing we do is more indispensable to our future well being or will receive more attention from my administration than guaranteeing our children a quality education.
Your government will represent your interests and reflect your character. We will share the same goals. We will share the same values. We will share the same sacrifices.
Government won’t ask New Mexicans to do what government itself is not willing to do. As families struggle to reduce their household budgets, so will your government. We won’t take more of your money from you or grow the deficit because we are not willing to make the same tough decisions you have had to make. We won’t shy away from tough decisions in this administration.
You are accountable for your actions. You take responsibility for your decisions. So will your government. We aren’t going to hide anything from you in the hope of escaping your fair judgment of our performance.
For too long, government has not been willing to shine the light of scrutiny upon itself. We will shine a light into the dark corners of state government in order to regain the public trust and to ensure that public officials are putting the people’s business first.
For too long, politicians have acted as though taxpayer money belonged to them, not to you, the taxpayer. As Governor, I will endeavor to move New Mexico away from the waste and excess that has defined our past.
Transparency and accountability will be core values of my administration. I will ask for nothing more than to be judged on our record. Your government will serve no interest but yours.
Appointments to my administration will be made with strict attention to the skills, qualifications and character of prospective candidates. It won’t be who they know, but who they are that will determine who I ask to join my administration. I want the best people to serve with me; people with impressive records of achievement, reputations for honesty, proven reliability and no other objective than to serve the people of New Mexico with distinction and integrity.
As we enforce without fear or favor the ethical standards of our administration, so will we enforce all the laws in this state. Those who violate the public trust will be prosecuted and punished. Lawbreakers will have no stronger adversary. Honest citizens will have no greater advocate.
I’ve dedicated my life to fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves … fighting for justice and fairness. I intend to make certain they are the priorities of our administration.
There is no worthier or more satisfying work than to serve others in a just cause. Not every New Mexican voted for me. But every New Mexican deserves and will receive my best efforts to protect and promote their interests. I serve you all, and I am grateful to you for the privilege.
I cannot promise we will always agree on methods, but we will share the same goal of a just, prospering and limitless New Mexico; a place where every mother’s child
has the encouragement and a fair opportunity to succeed as my mother’s child has; a place where dreams are made real.
I can’t promise you perfection. I will surely make mistakes, but I can promise you I will do all I can to make our home a better, stronger place. I will need your guidance, your help, your patience and your courage. Without them, I will fail. With them, we will succeed together.
“Courage,” Winston Churchill said, is “the first of human qualities because it’s the quality which guarantees all others.” My parents taught me that before I ever heard of Mr. Churchill. Standing up for what’s right always requires courage. That is never truer than in difficult times like these.
We must act boldly and quickly to overcome our challenges and make our opportunities. That will take courage from all of us. If mine ever flags, I will look to your example to restore it; and to the example of those whose courage and love gave me every advantage I needed to succeed in the greatest state in the greatest country on earth.
Let us be brave together, my fellow New Mexicans, and always remember the history of our state … be true to our inheritance … be true to ourselves … and be true to those we have been entrusted to serve. I am humbled by the privilege, and ready to begin.
God bless you and God bless New Mexico. Thank you.