June 30, 2016


Martinez, the first Latina U.S. governor, made headlines in May when she refused to be “bullied” into supporting Donald Trump after he criticized her at an Albuquerque event. Martinez says she’s still waiting to hear what Trump is “going to do for my very diverse state.”

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Martinez was the first Latina district attorney elected in New Mexico, the first Hispanic female governor to be elected in any state and the first female head of the Republican Governors Association, which she currently chairs. She won re-election in 2014 with 57% of the vote and was often mentioned as a potential VP pick before Trump won the primary.

‘I haven’t heard their ideas yet.’

Martinez, on whether she’d vote for Trump or former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who is running as the libertarian nominee


“In my state, we won control of the statehouse for the first time in 60 years by recruiting candidates who are diverse,” says Martinez, a Republican. “I think it can be done in other states as well. But you have to have political parties that are willing to build it in the right way: from the grassroots up.”

‘Here’s what I do: I listen first and foremost … I listen to Hispanics, Native Americans, Anglos.’

Martinez, on how she copes with Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee; New Mexico is 48% Hispanic and 11% native American


Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas, to a Mexican-American family. Her father, a Golden Gloves boxer, was a deputy sheriff before he and his wife started a security company, which Martinez worked for while in college, patrolling parking lots with her Smith & Wesson. She is caretaker to her sister Lettie, who is disabled.

‘It’s important for us to start looking for really good female candidates to run for governor … States have to be able to recruit more females by reaching out and saying, How do we find more diverse representation?’

Martinez, whose state ranks sixth for women in elected office

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This appears in the July 11, 2016 issue of TIME.


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