New Mexico's Governor Susana Martinez
First Hispanic woman governor blazing trails
Governor Susana Martinez made history when she was elected Governor of the state of New Mexico in November. She is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a governor of any state in the U.S.
"I am proud of the fact that I am the first female Hispanic governor in the country," Martinez told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps in a recent interview. "However, I am also very aware of the extreme responsibility that brings. If I am going to blaze a trail for other minorities or women to follow, I have to make sure that I do this job really well, and that I produce the results I promised that I was going to deliver throughout my four years."
Otherwise, she says, "I just happen to be a woman who is Hispanic who got elected. I want to be one who delivers and changes New Mexico in a positive way."
Gov. Martinez says her top priority as governor is to transform New Mexico's education system. She wants to move New Mexico up from its current ranking as 49th in the nation in education. Currently 80 per cent of 4th graders in New Mexico can't read proficiently. They eventually get frustrated and drop out of school, she said. The state's dropout rate is at 40 per cent.
"We need to make sure kids know how to read so that they will want to learn," she said. "I believe in rewarding great teachers and good schools, and I want to make sure that our children are not being promoted when they are not prepared with the basic skills."
Gov. Martinez wants children to know that "if you get a strong education, and you want to do well in school, no one can take that away from you."
"Education opens so many doors and opportunities down the road," she said. "I know it's a struggle sometimes because kids would rather do other things, like play Wii, but we need to teach all kids how to dream about things that they can be and then teach them how to get there."
Kids should watch the news and keep up with what is happening in their states, the Republican governor continued. She encouraged kids to get involved in politics and learn about the issues online.
"What's most important is to be true to what you believe," she said. "If you sell out your core principals, you become a politician, not a leader. A leader will do what is right for the people you represent."
CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
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Jacob Schroeder is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps,