Susana Martinez has loomed large in the Roundhouse during her first two years as governor.
She has forced repeated debate on repealing the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Through heavy spending on attack ads she has helped oust some longtime lawmakers she viewed as in her way. Through it all, voters have rewarded her with high approval ratings.
But some question whether Martinez is making any lasting change. Others wonder if she even knows what she’s doing. Whatever the case, Martinez has made some significant decisions in her first two years in office, including putting her weight behind Spaceport America after starting out a skeptic. Other decisions await her, such as whether to expand Medicaid.
Starting with today’s profile of Martinez, we’ll take an in-depth look at what she’s done and what’s in store for the rest of her term, beginning with the legislative session that starts Jan. 15.
The six-part series was produced by New Mexico In Depth in partnership with the Santa Fe New Mexican and Las Cruces Sun-News. New Mexico In Depth is a new media organization focused on deepening journalistic coverage of issues including poverty, health care, education and politics in our state through partnerships with other news organizations.
Over the next few days, we’ll cover a lot of ground. The series kicks off with today’s profile of Martinez.
Monday’s installment will focus on Martinez’s decision whether or not to expand Medicaid, the government’s health insurance program for the poor.
On Tuesday comes a story that will examine the governor’s record on economic development using as its prism the spaceport in southern New Mexico.
Wednesday’s story will examine Martinez’s push to repeal the 2003 state law that allows undocumented immigrants to receive New Mexico drivers’ licenses.
On Thursday comes a recounting of Martinez’s decision to create a state-based health exchange, a cornerstone of the federal health care law, and the challenges confronting the state as it endeavors to build something so complex.
The series wraps up next Sunday with an exploration of Martinez’s attempt to find common ground with state lawmakers on the issue of limiting social promotion – the practice of promoting a student who isn’t reading to grade level.
We hope our work cuts through the rhetoric and helps deepen your understanding of these important issues, which impact many people in and outside New Mexico – including you.