SANTA FE, N.M. — A week away from her last regular legislative session, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez told business leaders Tuesday that New Mexico's economy is on the rebound and that she will work across party lines to attack crime, improve public schools and promote business growth.
But she also mixed in a few jabs at the Legislature, where Democrats hold majorities in both chambers.
“I believe this session can be a productive one,” Martinez said Tuesday as she addressed about 150 business and community leaders gathered at Albuquerque Studios for an event sponsored by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. “I'm very optimistic, and I'm ready to work with anyone who's interested in building upon the progress that we've made together.”
But she didn't hide her often-strained relationship with the Legislature, which she blasted as being too slow to embrace tougher criminal penalties. She said she will add at least 25 anti-crime bills to the agenda of the 30-day session.
“It's been communicated to me that certain legislative leaders have told others that their mission in the upcoming session is to deny 'me' any accomplishments,” Martinez said.
Democratic leaders in the Legislature – especially House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe – have generally expressed optimism ahead of the session, especially about reaching agreement with Martinez on a budget plan.
But Democrats have often resisted Martinez's call for longer criminal sentences, arguing they aren't an effective way to deter crime. They've said they will consider her proposals this year if they're part of a “balanced” approach to crime that also address treatment and rehabilitation.