La Maverick: My More Magazine Interview with New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez



Check out my first article for More Magazine.  I interviewed New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) soon after she was elected in November 2010, making historia as this state's first woman--and the nation's primera Latina guv.  She is a tough nut to crack: she is charming and was evasive, although I drilled her on her controversial views (such as immigration) and future presidential aspirations.

I also found her super sharp (and she flaunts it), a quality that stands out in contrast to other Tea Party darlings such as Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin.  Although the Republican party has substantial issues to overcome to attract the growing Latino electorate largely because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric expressed by some factions, in 2010 the GOP sent more Hispanics to governors' mansions and Washington, DC than the Democratic Party.  I have covered Washington politics for nearly five years and can vouch for this: voters are independent minded, politicians have a penchant for blowing up their careers,  and how hot button issues like the economic recovery, workers' rights, and immigration reform play out will influence if voters reward--or punish--their leaders and political parties in 2012.

Will Susana Martinez be tapped for VP or just go for the whole enchilada and run for President? Your guess is as good as mine. But given the demographic explosion of Latinos confirmed by the 2010 Census results, the U.S. will likely have a Señor--or a Señora Presidente.  The question is, when?

As appears in More:

March 2011 Free Thinker

By Viviana Hurtado

Susana Martinez is New Mexico’s first woman—and the nation’s first Latina—governor. The Republican’s hard stand on immigration has prompted some critics to claim she sold out her Mexican roots. We asked:

Your position on immigration reform doesn’t fit in a box. You emphasize border security but have spoken out against Arizona’s controversial bill. A secure border is the most important thing we need before we can have any kind of comprehensive reform. We have people coming from all over the world with fake documents; it’s not just about the Mexican population.

What message do you think your historic election sends? I talked about the issues that mattered to people, no matter who they are: Hispanic, non-Hispanic, older, younger, male or female. But I know I’m paving the path for young girls. While I was on the campaign trail, I met a six-year-old called Susanna [with two n’s] Martinez. She had posters of me in her room. I want her to know that regardless of your background, anything is possible, the American dream is alive, and we are all equals.

Your name has been floated as a candidate for vice president in 2012, but why stop there? Will you run for president? No. [Laughs] I haven’t even served my term yet! I was elected to serve the people of New Mexico and solve my state’s problems. That’s what I intend to do.