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Inside the Beltway

Washington politics and government with a New Mexico flavor

Gov. Martinez Given Key Speaking Slot at Republican National Convention

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Gov. Susana Martinez, a key player in Mitt Romney’s strategy to win Hispanic voters, has been given a top speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Fla. later this month.

The Republican National Committee made the announcement this morning, describing Martinez as “the first female Hispanic governor in the U.S. and the first female governor of New Mexico.”

It’s unclear when Martinez will speak – or if her speech is scheduled in a prime-time slot – but she is among just seven speakers announced this morning. Others announced include Republican heavy hitters such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina Gov. Nicky Haley.

The announcement of Romney’s V.P. pick is expected sometime before the convention begins on Aug. 27, and perhaps as soon as this week.

“We are proud and excited to announce these outstanding leaders will address the nation during our convention in Tampa,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “They are some of our party’s brightest stars, who have governed and led effectively and admirably in their respective roles. Ours will be a world class convention, worthy of the next president of the United States, and these speakers—and those that will be announced later—will help make it a truly memorable and momentous event.”

Martinez had been widely mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for Romney, but that chatter has largely subsided.

Jay McCleskey, a Martinez political advisor, told the Journal this morning via email that the governor has not been officially vetted by the Romney campaign.

“Gov. Martinez has been clear from the beginning that she had no interest in serving as VP, because of her commitment to serve as New Mexico’s governor, as well as her family obligations here at home,” McCleskey said in an email.

Martinez has a sister who is developmentally disabled and the governor has cited her obligations to her sister as one reason she wasn’t interested in being considered for the number two spot on Romney’s ticket.

In a statement, Martinez touted Romney as a the best candidate to boost the U.S. economy, which added jobs last month but not as many as President Barack Obama’s campaign had hoped.

“The Republican National Convention will give Mitt Romney momentum for securing a critical victory for our country this fall,” she said. “Americans want to work. They want to build their businesses, compete and succeed in order to create more jobs and a secure future for their families. Mitt Romney knows that is the formula for our economic growth – not more government roadblocks. We will share this message in Tampa in a few weeks, and the American voters will make their voices heard on this at the polls in November.”

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