Thursday, March 10, 2011
Gov. Takes First Trip on State Plane
By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
Gov. Susana Martinez took her first ride on a state plane Wednesday, flying her and three lawmakers to Silver City to be briefed on the Quail Ridge Fire.
Martinez, in her 2010 campaign for governor, was highly critical of former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration for its use of the state jet.
Martinez said in July that many of the trips made by Richardson and Martinez's general election opponent, former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, were inappropriate and symbols of government excess.
"I will get rid of the state jet and, as importantly, eliminate the attitude created by the Richardson-Denish administration that certain politicians and insiders are entitled and above the law," Martinez said in July.
The governor flew on a propeller-driven King Air plane Wednesday, not the state jet, which has been put up for sale since Martinez took office Jan. 1. Martinez limited her criticism on the campaign trail to the jet when she spoke about specific instances of what she called abuse, but she also criticized the overall amount of air travel by Richardson, Denish and other officials — which would include trips on all three state airplanes.
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said Wednesday that it would have been impossible for Martinez to make the trip in a car due to time constraints.
"As the governor has clearly stated, she has grounded and will sell the state jet and limit the use of other state aircraft to situations, such as this emergency, when other transportation is unrealistic," Darnell said.