Susana Martinez: What New Mexico's Governor Can Teach the GOP

Susana Martinez (Courtesy of J. Chehak)
The Daily BeastWhy the country’s first Latina governor might be Mitt’s best veep pickUnless you happen to live near vast stretches of sand, sagebrush, and adobe, chances are you have no idea who Susana Martinez is. That’s a pity, because she may be the boldest, savviest vice presidential pick Mitt Romney could make. Consider Romney’s vulnerabilities. He trails Barack Obama by as many as 56 percentage points among Latinos. Women prefer the president by roughly 20 points. Conservatives still distrust him, and populists in both parties suspect that he’s a vulture capitalist who likes to fire people. New Mexico’s Martinez, the first Latina governor in U.S. history, would solve each of these problems, or help as much as any running mate conceivably could. Within minutes of meeting me in Santa Fe one morning last month, she is speaking fluent Spanish, reminiscing about the .357 magnum she acquired at age 18, and describing her family’s mom-and-pop security business back in El Paso. A scout from Boston would have been very pleased. Still, it isn’t until a few hours later, when we arrive at Albuquerque’s Mission Avenue Elementary School, that Martinez demonstrates precisely how potent a sidekick she could be. By now, everyone knows that Romney tends to act like a malfunctioning automaton around real people: stiff, preprogrammed, out of sync. Martinez, who has stopped by to read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, is different. A sturdy 52-year-old with a bronze bob, black jeans, and a cropped black motorcycle jacket, she sits “criss-cross applesauce,” as she puts it, on the floor. She gently restores order every time the kids stand, squirm, squeal, or inch into the circle for a better view of the titular mouse and his hilarious milk mustache. And when she spots one glum little girl sitting off to the side by herself, she makes a point of getting her involved. Read More News New Mexico



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