The 2013 TIME 100
Governor of New Mexico, 53
By Karl Rove
At 18 and armed with a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, Susana Martinez guarded parking lots at church bingo nights for her parents’ security business. She later attended law school, becoming a prosecutor and handling child-abuse and homicide cases. Fired by her boss after being called to testify against him, she challenged him at the polls, eventually winning four terms as Doña Ana County district attorney.
Then in 2010, she was elected America’s first Latina governor and New Mexico’s first female governor. Though her state usually votes Democratic, that hasn’t stopped this Republican from working with a Democratic legislature to turn a structural deficit into a surplus, pass education reforms to rate each school’s performance, enact comprehensive tax reform and focus on a pro-growth jobs agenda.
Martinez was considered for Mitt Romney’s running mate last year. If she is re-elected in 2014, her reputation as a reform-minded conservative Republican could grow even more in a second term.
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