Susana Martinez

Contact Information

Telephone:505-476-2200 (Main phone number)
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birth place:El Paso, TX
Residence:Las Cruces, NM
Religion:Roman Catholic
First Elected:2010


Next Election:2014

Undergraduate education: University of Texas - El Paso


Graduate education: University of Oklahoma


Susana Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas, and lives in Las Cruces, the second largest city in New Mexico.

She earned a bachelor's degree in 1981 from the University of Texas-El Paso, and a law degree in 1986 from the University of Oklahoma.

Martinez was elected governor in 2010 to a four-year term. Before that, she served as district attorney in New Mexico's 3rd Judicial District, a post she was first elected to in 1996. The district covered Dona Ana County.

Her husband, Chuck Franco, is a retired Dona Ana County undersheriff. She has a stepson.


Susana Martinez, a Republican, is the nation's first female Hispanic governor as well as the first woman elected as governor of New Mexico.

Despite being mentioned in political circles as a possible GOP vice presidential contender in early 2012, Martinez maintained she was neither interested nor would accept the position if offered.

"I will not change my life. I have a family. I have a sister that I have to take care of. I have a dad with Alzheimer's," Martinez told The Associated Press. "I am focused on New Mexico, and I can do all those things while living in New Mexico."

During her 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Martinez promised to fight corruption in government. It is an issue that resonated with voters because of charges against several high-ranking Democrats in recent years and pay-to-play allegations that dogged former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration.

In 2012, Martinez ran into criticism after it surfaced that she and top administration officials conducted government business using personal email accounts or ones connected to the governor's political action committee. The governor's office maintained no laws were broken but critics said the practice was unacceptable, particularly for a governor who had advocated for greater governmental transparency. Martinez responded by directing state workers under her control to use only state email for conducting public business.

Since her election, Martinez has feuded with educational groups and teachers' unions over a proposal to require school districts to retain third-graders who can't read proficiently, rather than promoting them to the next class. The proposal failed in the Democrat-controlled Legislature along with another Martinez initiative to change the system for evaluating teachers and principals and base it partly on the performance of their students.

Undeterred by legislative opposition, the governor directed her administration to implement the new teacher evaluation system through regulations.

Democrats also have blocked a proposal that Martinez made a centerpiece of her campaign — stopping New Mexico from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. More than 90,000 licenses have been issued to foreign nationals since 2003, when the state stopped requiring applicants to have a Social Security number. Only New Mexico and Washington grant licenses to illegal immigrants.

Martinez contends there is widespread fraud from immigrants who come to New Mexico to obtain a license but do not intend to become residents. Arrests have been made in several fraud rings, in which brokers charge thousands of dollars to help arrange a driver's license for immigrants.

Supporters of the current law say a driver's license is critical to the immigrants living and working in New Mexico, some of whom have been here for years and have U.S.-born children.

The governor has vowed to keep pushing the immigrant license issue in future legislative sessions.

"I am going to fight at every opportunity to make sure this law is repealed," said Martinez in February 2012.

Before becoming governor, Martinez served as district attorney in Dona Ana County, which is along the border with Mexico. She switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, and defeated Democratic incumbent Greg Valdez in 1996. She repeatedly won re-election in the solidly Democratic county.

American Conservative Union Rating: Not rated

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: Not rated


Susana Martinez won her June 2014 primary, she will face Gary King in November.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on June 11, 2014.)

Last updated 3:16pm March 1, 2018