Susana Martinez

Remarks at the 2012 Republican National Convention - Aug. 29, 2012

Susana Martinez
August 29, 2012— Tampa, Florida
2012 Republican National Convention
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Thank you and good evening.

Before I begin tonight, let’s keep in our prayers the families impacted by the storm affecting the Gulf Coast. If you haven’t done so already, please donate to the Red Cross. To find out more about how you can help those affected by Hurricane Isaac, please visit

I am Susana Martinez. On behalf of the great state of New Mexico, let me express my gratitude for being invited to speak tonight.

Growing up, I never imagined a little girl from a border town could one day become a governor. But this is America. En America, todo es posible.

My parents taught me to never give up and to always believe that my future could be whatever I dreamt it to be. Success, they taught me, is built on the foundation of courage, hard-work and individual responsibility.

Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fear.

We grew up on the border and truly lived paycheck to paycheck. My dad was a Golden Gloves boxer in the Marine Corps, then a deputy sheriff. My mom worked as an office assistant. One day, they decided to start a security guard business. I thought they were absolutely crazy. We literally had no savings, but they always believed in the American Dream. So, my dad worked to grow the business. My mom did the books at night. And at 18, I guarded the parking lot at the Catholic Church bingos.

Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself. I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum—yes, that gun weighed more than I did!

My parents grew that small business from one 18-year-old guarding a bingo to more than 125 people in three states. And sure, there was help along the way. But my parents took the risk. They stood up. And you better believe that they built it.

My parents also taught me about having the courage to stand for something. So, I went to law school and became a prosecutor. I took on a specialty that very few choose to pursue. I prosecuted child abuse and child homicide cases. Cases that were truly gut-wrenching. But standing up for those kids, being their voice for justice, was the honor of a lifetime.

Sometimes you pay a price for standing up. When I was a young prosecutor, I got called to testify against my boss. I could have backed down, but I didn’t. I stood up to him. And he fired me for it. So I took him on, ran against him for district attorney and beat him by a landslide!

I fear some of our leaders today have lost the courage to stand up. What we have now are politicians. They won’t offer real plans, and only stand up when they want to blame someone else. And I don’t say that just because a Democrat is in the White House. I was a Democrat for many years. So were my parents.

Before I ran for district attorney, two Republicans invited my husband and me to lunch. And I knew a party-switch was exactly what they wanted. So, I told Chuck, we’ll be polite, enjoy a free lunch and then say goodbye. But we talked about issues. They never used the words Republican, or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We talked about many issues, like welfare—is it a way of life, or a hand-up? Talked about the size of government—how much should it tax families and small businesses? And when we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”

This election should not be about political parties. Too many Americans are out of work, and our debt is out of control. This election needs to be about those issues. And it is the responsibility of both parties to offer up real solutions and have an honest debate.

In New Mexico, I inherited the largest structural deficit in state history. And our legislature is controlled by Democrats. We don’t always agree. But we came together in a bi-partisan manner, and turned that deficit into a surplus—and we did it without raising taxes.

But that’s not the kind of leadership we are seeing from President Obama. He promised to bring us all together, to cut unemployment, to pass immigration reform in his first year and even promised to cut the deficit in half in his first term.

Do you remember that?

But he hasn’t come close. They haven’t even passed a budget in Washington, DC in three years! If he can take credit for government building small businesses, then he can accept responsibility for breaking his promise and adding 5 trillion dollars to the national debt.

Because he did build that.

As the first Hispanic female governor in history, little girls often come up to me in the grocery store or the mall. They look and they point, and when they get the courage to come up, they ask “Are you Susana?” and they run up and they give me a hug. And I wonder. How do you know who I am? But they do. And these are little girls.

It’s in moments like these when I’m reminded that we each pave a path. And for me, it’s about paving a path for those little girls to follow.

They need to know—no more barriers.

In many ways, Mitt Romney and I are very different. Different starts in life. Different paths to leadership. Different cultures. But we’ve each shared in the promise of America, and we share a core belief that the promise of America must be kept for the next generation.

El sueno Americanos es tener exito.

It is success. Success is the American Dream. And that success is not something to be ashamed of, or to demonize.

There is one candidate in this election who will protect that dream, one leader who will fight hard to keep the promise of America for the next generation.

And that’s why we must stand up and make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States.

Thank you!

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