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Friday, January 14, 2011
'Where's that Shoe?'
By Sean Olson
Copyright © 2011 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Staff Writer
Gov. Susana Martinez has had only a couple of months to hire a staff that will run the executive branch of state government, build a proposed budget and come up with a legislative agenda before New Mexico lawmakers convene Tuesday.
It hasn't left much time to move.
"We have boxes everywhere," the former district attorney from Las Cruces told the Journal. "I can find one shoe, but not the other. It's very difficult."
Meanwhile, the official Santa Fe digs for the new governor and her husband, former Doña Ana County Undersheriff Chuck Franco, haven't been a quick fit either.
They are staying in the one-bedroom guest apartment at the Governor's Mansion while workers paint the primary residential area — a job required in part because it smelled like smoke.
Their dogs have had to be left behind in Las Cruces, at least for now, until they can raise the fences at the Governor's Mansion and prevent wildlife disasters.
"There are deer everywhere, and they are on the lawn," Martinez said. "I tell my husband, 'You cannot take out your firearm.' "
The governor said her dogs would hop the mansion's fences in a heartbeat if it meant the opportunity to give chase.
Martinez also is apart from her sister, who lived with her in Las Cruces and has special needs, for the first time in years. She plans to see her sister for four-day visits every two weeks, but she said the adjustment is tough.
The Governor's Mansion itself is half empty, with the public section cleared out until Martinez can pick out exhibits, artwork and other ornaments that can be viewed by the public in later months.
Lynn Clark, a director with the New Mexico Governor's Mansion Foundation, said the public side of the mansion is usually closed in January for maintenance. The foundation expects to open soon for tours on a regular schedule — every second and fourth Tuesday of the month between 1 and 3 p.m..
"As far as I know, we are planning to begin in February. I feel sure the artwork will be up by that time," Clark said.
As for the private portion of the mansion, Martinez's living quarters, the governor doesn't know just yet.
"We are living in a one-bedroom little thing right now that is attached to the private part of the house, and we've been there 10, 11 days now because there was heavy smoking going on inside the house, cigar and cigarette," Martinez said.
Gov. Bill Richardson, the previous occupant, who couldn't be reached for comment, had a well-known fondness for cigars.
"It's just in everything," said Martinez, who quit smoking 13 years ago and now is allergic to smoke.
But Martinez shrugs it off. She said maintenance crews are sealing and repainting the private area.
And there have been pleasant surprises, too.
Martinez cut two chef positions at the mansion as part of her effort to cut costs, but still gets to enjoy meals from the remaining cook, Lupe Jackson. Jackson became well known during the Richardson administration for making a mean bizcochito.
Franco, the first gentleman, discovered another possible boon from having Jackson at the mansion, but the governor is not keen on letting him get used to it.
"The other day he got caught by Lupe doing the laundry and she said, 'What are you doing?' " Martinez said. "I said, 'Let him do the laundry.' "