Monday, September 5, 2011

Martinez Speech Disappointing, At Best

“Disappointing” is the nicest description possible of Gov. Susana Martinez’ “remarks” (not a speech) last Wednesday, August 31, to the Domenici Public Policy Conference in Las Cruces. The disappointment began with the introduction of Martinez by NMSU president Barbara Couture who repeated the nonsense (true nonsense, but nonsense) that Martinez was “born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley.” Born and raised in El Paso, Martinez hid behind the euphemism for most of her race for governor. Probably someone gave Couture the script and Couture didn’t think much about it. But why are Martinez people still unwilling to admit her birthplace. It’s just silly. This birth place thing is not quite as absurd as Bill Richardson’s claim of having been drafted by a major league baseball team. But with each repetition, it gets closer. Martinez said she was in Las Cruces to help celebrate the beginning of a new minor at NMSU, in child advocacy, I think she said. If Martinez is serious about reducing government activity in New Mexico, the last thing (or maybe the next to last thing) she should be doing is expanding the state’s profligate higher education system. But this was Las Cruces, NMSU and a subject close to Martinez' heart. Martinez repeated her campaign promise to cut the staff at the governor’s mansion. Old news. Whoppee. She said, proudly, “In the end we balanced the budget.” Balancing the budget is required by the constitution. Any governor who brags on balancing the budget is blowing major smoke. The next brag was on Union Pacific starting work on the multi-modal facility at Santa Teresa. Martinez indicated that the project was the result of her pro-business policies. Well, no. Martinez did support reauthorization of a locomotive fuel gross receipts exemption (or something like that) vital to the multi-modal. But the tax exemption, previously extended, has been around for maybe five years and the multi-modal idea has been around for maybe 25 years. Kevin Boberg invented the project and honored me with one of the first presentations. Probably the gross receipts extension was a slam dunk. Martinez had little to do with it. To claim more credit for the project was disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Martinez trashed legislative criticism of her ever expanding agenda for the special session of the legislature that starts tomorrow. She said legislators only wanting to do redistricting just want to protect themselves. True enough, but so what. Martinez did not pursue the idea of an independent redistricting commission, a notion that during the campaign she told me she favored. Martinez gave the same speech (er, remarks) earlier in the day to the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce. At least I didn’t have to go to both meetings.

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