New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is calling on state legislators to pass a series of bills that would increase penalties for politicians found guilty of corruption. She also seeks to impose a two-year ban on becoming a lobbyist after leaving state government. The Republican has made the pledge to only appoint nominees to positions if they promise to follow this standard.
Martinez, a Republican, said the proposal is nonpartisan and should be accepted by lawmakers from both parties as a means of improving public confidence in government.
“We should never use service to the state as an opportunity to cash in,” she said during a news conference outside the Metropolitan Courthouse, where she also endorsed bills to increase punishments for corrupt public officials.
The story of Kent Cravens, a State Senator who left to take a high-paying job as a lobbyist with the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, is a perfect example of the kind of corruption in politics that has created a deep disapproval of government. Republicans are expected to support the bill, perhaps in part because the seat vacated by Craven went to Democrat Lisa Curtis, who was previously President of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, and it will be important for the party to present a unified, of-the-people front if they want to reclaim Craven’s place in the statehouse.
Gov. Martinez’s strong stance on lobbying, coupled with her base of support among the Latino community, has made her a name both politicians and pundits have dropped in conversations about possible Republican Vice Presidential candidates. Mitt Romney recently mentioned her as a potential running mate. Martinez’s representatives, however, have indicated that she is not interested in the position.
While some of the Governor’s measures have been controversial, her stance on lobbying is admirable. KDAT recently reviewed her administration’s performance to coincide with Martinez’s 2012 State of the State address.