A number of current and former state elected officials, including Democratic U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, packed into the House gallery to listen to the first-term Republican governor’s remarks.
Martinez’s address was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. However, leadership elections in both the House and Senate caused a bit of a delay.
In her opening remarks, Martinez noted the death of former House Speaker Ben Lujan, saying “there is one very noticeable absence from this chamber.”
She also highlighted education and economic development initiatives during her 39-minute speech.
“Our goal this session should be to make New Mexico more competitive, to level the playing field so that our small businesses can grow and put more New Mexicans back to work,” Martinez said.
Her remarks drew applause from those in the audience, though Democrats sat silently after Martinez said she continued to push for the passage of two of her most controversial agenda items — repealing the 2003 law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and requiring 3rd graders who do not show adequate reading proficiency to repeat the grade level.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, gave the official Democratic response to the governor’s State of the State Address.