Gubernatorial hopeful talks jobs, education

Freedom New Mexico

While on a swing through eastern New Mexico last week, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Susana Martinez stopped by the Freedom New Mexico offices to discuss her candidacy.

Martinez, 50, was elected as the district attorney in New Mexico’s 3rd Judicial District in Dona Ana County in 1997, a position in which she still serves. Her three top issues are:

• Jobs: If elected, Martinez said she would remove Pit Rule 17, which she said is unnecessary regulation that hurts the state’s oil and gas industry. The rule requires permits for different kinds of oil pits.

“The state of New Mexico has to become more competitive with our surrounding states,” Martinez said. “We’re over-regulated and overtaxed.”

• Education: Martinez said she’s concerned that the average New Mexico high school doesn’t graduate 46 percent of its students within four years, and said many schools graduate high school seniors who can’t read above a sixth-grade level.

“We have to give the support to our best teachers,” Martinez said, “and make sure most of the dollars are (spent) in the classroom.”

• Corruption: Two former state treasurers, a former deputy insurance superintendent and a former Senate president pro tem have been convicted of corruption-related felonies in recent years.

“We have to revamp it so it’s a fair place,” she said. “You can never turn a blind eye.”

Martinez added that she intends to remove several exempt positions, noting that there are 480 exempt state employees, compared to 170 when Gary Johnson left office in 2003.

Information:, 575-636-2150

— Compiled by Kevin Wilson