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Susana Martinez inauguration address: “Let us be brave together”

By   /   January 1, 2011  /   No Comments

Hundreds of New Mexicans turned out despite frigid conditions that dropped the wind-chill factor below zero to watch America’s first Hispanic female governor get sworn in at the Plaza in Santa Fe.

Susana Martinez urged the crowd, “Let us be brave together” during a speech that lasted about 15 minutes. Martinez, a Republican who takes over for Democrat Bill Richardson, also vowed that her administration will appoint only the best-qualified applicants — “It won’t be who they know, but who they are” — and added that “nothing we do is more indispensable” than ensuring a quality educational system for the state’s students.

Martinez, who inherits a state budget deficit estimated at roughly $300 million, also urged Democrats and Republicans to work together at the State Capitol so that, “We will grow an economy that offers opportunities to every New Mexican willing to seize them.”

In a not-so-subtle reference to the Richardson admistration, which was plagued by “pay for play” allegations, the 51-year-old former prosecutor from Doña Ana County said, “We will shine a light into the dark corners of state government in order to regain the public trust and to ensure that Lucky public officials are putting the people’s business first.”

One light-hearted moment came during the middle of her speech when Martinez said, “No lawmakers will have no stronger adversary,” and then quickly corrected herself to that no lawbreakers will be see a tougher adversary. Give the tough fiscal times ahead, the verbal slip could prove prophetic.

While most of the attendees at the inauguration were Republicans, Democrats Luciano “Lucky” Varela, Rhonda King and attorney general Gary King were spotted in the crowd.

Saturday (Jan. 1) marked a busy day for the new governor, who — as per state custom — was sworn in during a private ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda just after midnight on New Year’s Day and almost immediately issued a number of executive orders, including establishing a “small business-friendly task force” that suspends all proposed rules and regulations in the state for 90 days.

It’s not clear if the 90-day suspension could be directed at the recent passage of state cap and trade regulations by the state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB). The exectuve order does not mention the EIB specifically but Martinez has promised to try to overturn the board’s decisions made this past November and December.

Two Republican lawmakers who shivered through the address each talked about spurring more economic growth to help solve the state’s deficit problems:

The other executive orders Martinez issued included directives that:

  • prohibit state agencies, departments and boards from hiring lobbyists
  • limit the claim of executive privilege in response to requests made under the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA)
  • require all state agencies and employees to fully cooperate with a request or inquiry by a Federal civil or criminal investigative authority

Martinez also announced the promotion of her former assistant — Amy Orlando – as District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District. Orlando has worked in the prosecutor’s office for 17 years and served as Chief Deputy District Attorney since 2006.

After delivering her inauguration speech, Gov. Martinez, Lt. Governor John Sanchez and others took part in a reception line in which members of the public lined up outside the New Mexico Museum of Art. Later in day, Gov. Martinez took part in a “Children’s Ball” in which youngsters met the new governor and even took turns line-dancing and waltzing with the new chief executive.

An invitation-only ball at the Santa Fe Convention Center will cap off the New Year’s Day festivities.

Then, on Monday, the new administration officially moves into the governor’s offices on the fourth-floor of the Roundhouse. The new governor’s official state website is already up.

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If you’d like to read the entire inaugural address and see some soundbites from the address, click here. Hat tip to KRQE-TV.

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.