With just days left in her term, Gov. Susana Martinez is reflecting on her time as New Mexico’s leader. She sat down with KRQE News 13 on Friday.
News 13 asked the outgoing governor about how the state has changed under her direction, along with how she thinks New Mexicans will remember her.
Gov. Martinez took a look back at her two terms, discussing everything from the infamous pizza party phone call to the economy.
“We’re all humans and we all make mistakes and I think the best thing to do is when you make a mistake is to accept it, to acknowledge it. Then, to make sure that you learn from it and I think that’s exactly what I did,” she said of that night at the Santa Fe hotel.
On the economy, Martinez touts programs like JTIP and LEDA and bringing Facebook, Netflix and Safelite to New Mexico. But she blames the Democrat-controlled legislature for less growth than she would have wanted.
“Could we have done more? Yes. We should have full tax reform. They didn’t want to do it. That should have been done,” she said.
It hasn’t been a perfect run. On education, she stands by her appointment of controversial former PED Secretary Hanna Skandera.
“We were pushing policies that were different, because for decades they were the same,” she said. “Hanna believed in the policies and was not going to give up, because she wasn’t going to give up on our kids and because they turned it into politics, it became about one person.”
The other big topic was crime. While the former Doña Ana County District Attorney feels successful in her anti-DWI campaigns, she wasn’t able to reinstate the death penalty for certain offenses, pointing to the horrific baby Brianna case she prosecuted.
“I saw that baby, that was the most horrific scene ever and that person didn’t get the maximum penalty, and that person doesn’t deserve to walk amongst us,” the governor said.
Overall, she believes she kept her promises, like never raising taxes.
The state’s first female governor says she hopes she inspired the leaders of tomorrow.
“I really want to make sure that I’ve paved, hopefully, a path for little girls to see that someone from a lower-middle class neighborhood became governor of the state, and that that glass ceiling is hopefully shattered forever,” she said.
As for her future plans, the governor said she will be returning to the El Paso-Las Cruces area to be with family and recharge. She has no plans as of now, but also says she can’t sit around forever.
She wishes governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham the best as the state’s 32nd governor.