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Editorial: New governor’s decision rings ‘True’ for economy

Outgoing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez credits the “New Mexico True” brand for “record-breaking” tourism during her first seven years in office.

Now Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is pledging to build on the brand the Martinez administration created, and that bodes well for our state’s economy.

“As governor, I’ll grow and diversify our economy, and the expansion of the ‘New Mexico True’ brand will be a key part of our economic strategy,” Lujan Grisham told The Associated Press last week.

In a world where political leaders frequently and automatically shelve initiatives started by their predecessors – particularly a predecessor from a different party – it’s refreshing that Lujan Grisham recognizes the value of the “New Mexico True” brand and is planning on keeping it.

It’s also a heartening bit of normalcy that Martinez and Lujan Grisham have promised to work together to ensure a smooth transition.

According to AP, New Mexico has spent $60 million since 2012 on the brand, which is a big investment. Tourism, meanwhile, generated $6.6 billion for our state economy in 2017, a 3.2 percent increase over 2016.

The “New Mexico True” campaign has featured everything from families kayaking to people making pottery. The campaign has also promoted New Mexico tourist attractions – like White Sands National Monument and Taos Pueblo – on billboards and commercials in Texas, Arizona, New York and Illinois.

Owners of local businesses that rely on tourism were breathing a sigh of relief after Lujan Grisham said she plans to keep the brand.

“The private sector has spent millions of dollars to promote New Mexico True because it works,” George Brooks, executive director of the trade organization Ski New Mexico, told AP. “So I’m glad the new governor is looking to keep it. The whole thing strikes a chord with people.”

Yes it does.

We commend Lujan Grisham for keeping an open mind on initiatives launched by Gov. Martinez, with an eye on keeping what’s working.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.