Lu­jan Grisham, Martinez meet, tout co­op­er­a­tion

Demo­crat, Repub­li­can vow to seek smooth tran­si­tion

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAN BOYD JOUR­NAL CAPI­TOL BUREAU

SANTA FE — In a meet­ing tinged with his­tor­i­cal im­port, the only two women ever elected gover­nor in New Mex­ico said Fri­day that they are set­ting aside po­lit­i­cal dis­agree­ments to work to­ward a smooth trans­fer of power.

Demo­crat Michelle Lu­jan Grisham, who was elected gover­nor this week, and Repub­li­can Su­sana Martinez, who will leave of­fice at the end of the year, met for two hours in the Gover­nor’s Of­fice to dis­cuss tran­si­tion-re­lated is­sues — keep­ing re­porters wait­ing for more than an hour for a sched­uled news con­fer­ence.

Both Lu­jan Grisham and Martinez de­scribed the meet­ing as pro­duc­tive and re­ferred to its his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

New Mex­ico had never elected a fe­male gover­nor un­til Martinez won of­fice in 2010. Now, state vot­ers have elected back-to-back fe­male gov­er­nors.

“It is a mo­men­tous day when two Latina women are able to stand to­gether, hav­ing been elected to the high­est of­fice of this won­der­ful state,” Martinez told re­porters, de­scrib­ing the oc­ca­sion as long over­due.

“We’re in­cred­i­bly proud of that and in­cred­i­bly proud of New Mex­i­cans who put their faith in two women,” added Lu­jan Grisham, who also ap­peared on a na­tional cable news pro­gram ear­lier Fri­day to dis­cuss her elec­tion.

Martinez also said she was proud to be re­lin­quish­ing the Gover­nor’s Of­fice at a time when New Mex­ico is pro­jected to have un­prece­dented in­com­ing state rev­enue lev­els — pri­mar­ily from sky­rock­et­ing oil pro­duc­tion lev­els in the state’s south­east­ern cor­ner.

“Our state’s fis­cal health is the best it’s ever been,” the two-term gover­nor said.

Lu­jan Grisham will be sworn

into of­fice on New Year’s Day, giv­ing her less than two months to as­sem­ble a Cab­i­net and pre­pare a bud­get blue­print for the 60-day leg­isla­tive ses­sion that starts on Jan. 15.

To fa­cil­i­tate a smooth hand­off, she said, she and Martinez on Fri­day dis­cussed giv­ing her tran­si­tion team ac­cess to top-level Martinez ad­min­is­tra­tion staffers and state gov­ern­ment records dur­ing the com­ing weeks.

“We are clear, both of us, that we want good gov­er­nance and a pro­duc­tive tran­si­tion,” Lu­jan Grisham said.

Al­though the two come from dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties and have es­poused di­ver­gent views about how state gov­ern­ment should func­tion, Lu­jan Grisham and Martinez brushed aside ques­tions Fri­day about po­lit­i­cal and pol­icy dif­fer­ences.

“I re­ally don’t think it’s a time to­day to talk about pol­i­tics,” Martinez said at one point.

On the cam­paign trail, Lu­jan Grisham crit­i­cized some of Martinez’s poli­cies, in­clud­ing the teacher eval­u­a­tion sys­tem im­ple­mented by her ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2013, but she largely re­frained from di­rect at­tacks.

In con­trast, Martinez, dur­ing her 2010 elec­tion bid — and her 2014 re-elec­tion cam­paign — fre­quently crit­i­cized her pre­de­ces­sor, for­mer Gov. Bill Richard­son, a Demo­crat.

Lu­jan Grisham, who got more than 57 per­cent of the votes cast in this year’s race for gover­nor against Repub­li­can Steve Pearce, pointed out that she al­ready had a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Martinez, due to the three terms she has spent in Congress rep­re­sent­ing the Al­bu­querque-based 1st Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.

Mean­while, Martinez said she could still fill crit­i­cal state gov­ern­ment po­si­tions be­fore she leaves of­fice at the end of De­cem­ber, but said her ad­min­is­tra­tion was not plan­ning to shift ap­pointees to pro­tected civil ser­vice po­si­tions.

“We’re not go­ing to run around and start fill­ing (po­si­tions) with in­di­vid­u­als, be­cause she needs to sur­round her­self with the peo­ple to suc­ceed,” Martinez said.

CRAIG FRITZ/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gov.-elect Michelle Lu­jan Grisham, left, and Gov. Su­sana Martinez look at mem­o­ra­bilia in the Gover­nor’s Of­fice dur­ing a meet­ing at the state Capi­tol in Santa Fe to dis­cuss Lu­jan Grisham’s tran­si­tion into the of­fice.

ED­DIE MOORE/JOUR­NAL

Gov.-elect Michelle Lu­jan Grisham, left, and Gov. Su­sana Martinez hold a news con­fer­ence in the state Capi­tol af­ter meet­ing in the Gover­nor’s Of­fice on Fri­day. The two de­clined to an­swer ques­tions about po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences.

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