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Susana Martinez 2016: 7 Highlights From Pre-Politics Life of Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful

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By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 05:01 PM

The first Latina governor in the United States, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez grew up in a middle class family in El Paso, Texas.

A natural leader who could be quite bossy, according to family members, she long dreamed of becoming a lawyer.

Her years after law school at the University of Oklahoma found Martinez moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico, building a career as a prosecuting attorney and coming to the startling realization that she belonged in the Republican party.

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Susana Martinez said she is solely focused on governing New Mexico, but that hasn’t kept her name from popping up on short lists of potential GOP presidential candidates in 2016.

Here are seven highlights of the pre-political life of this GOP presidential hopeful:

1. Her grandmother called Martinez “la abogadita,” the little lawyer.

The youngest of three children born to Jacobo and Paula Martinez, Susana Martinez was “muy bossy,” her brother, Jake, told the El Paso Times in an interview during her first gubernatorial run in 2010. She was “always ordering the other kids around,” he said.

2. Martinez worked as a security guard for her family’s business. When she was 18 years old, she was carrying a .357 magnum outside of church bingo halls.

“My dad would take her to the bingos and the parties and all that stuff,” Jake Martinez, Jr. told the El Paso Times. “She was out there guarding parking lots.”

3. After graduating with honors in 1977 from Riverside High School in El Paso, Martinez went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

4. While a law student, Martinez decided she wanted to be a prosecutor. She was an intern sitting in on a fairly gruesome case, and afterward she found herself in the elevator with the accused’s defense attorney.

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She asked the attorney, “How is it that you sit next to this monster?” she recalled in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal. “That was the day I said I could never sit next to somebody who did that.”

5. Martinez moved to Las Cruces with her first husband. (They later divorced.) She was hired as a prosecutor in 1986 and became deputy district attorney a few years later.

6. Martinez was a lifelong Democrat, but a meeting with a couple of Republicans as she was preparing to run for district attorney forced Martinez and her second husband, Chuck Franco, to reconsider their political affiliation.

“I registered Democrat because my parents did,” she told Newsweek. “And you’ll hear that over and over here in New Mexico.”

Martinez said the conversation with conservatives helped her to see that her values were more aligned with the Republican Party.

“I didn’t suddenly become conservative. It was only the label that changed,” she said.

7. Martinez’s older sister, Lettie, has cerebral palsy. The governor has been Lettie’s legal guardian since their mother died in 2006.

Martinez believes that helping to take care of her sister throughout her life has shaped her policies on care for the disabled.

“Lettie is on Medicaid,” Martinez told Newsweek. “So I believe in providing services to adults and children who can’t take care of themselves.”

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The first Latina governor in the United States, Susana Martinez has said she is focused on leading New Mexico, but that hasn’t kept her name off short lists of potential GOP presidential candidates in 2016. Here are seven highlights of the pre-political life of this GOP presidential hopeful.
susana martinez, 2016, pre-politics, highlights
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2015-01-09
Monday, 09 Feb 2015 05:01 PM
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