Spring 2022 – Susana Martinez

Former New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez presented “It’s a Different World Out There: Leadership in the States” on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, as the 34th recipient of the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics.

While states are often referred to as “laboratories of democracy,” Martinez believes that they are increasingly becoming battlefields for the nation’s most intractable and difficult policy fights. In her presentation, Martinez will discuss how state executive leadership must navigate issues such as balancing budgets, overseeing public education, making heath care decisions, competing with other states for jobs and business investment, and responding to natural disasters in today’s political climate.

Martinez served as governor of New Mexico from 2011-2019, the state’s first female governor and the first woman of color to serve as governor in the United States. Prior to being elected governor, Martinez was a prosecutor in New Mexico for 25 years, specializing in child abuse and sexual abuse cases. She also served as Doña Ana County’s elected district attorney for over half that time.

Martinez has been named to Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World and served as a chairman and long-time executive committee member of the Republican Governors Association (RGA). She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and her law degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.

A recording of Martinez’s presentation, including a transcript of her lecture and the question-and-answer session, is available on the Lectures Program website.

The Catt Center has sponsored the annual Mary Louise Smith Chair speaker series since the fall of 1996 through the generous support of donors. It was established in 1995 to honor the Iowa native and longtime political and civic leader. Mary Louise Smith – the first woman to chair the Republican National Committee – was a mentor, friend and role model to many in the world of politics and civic, government and community affairs.

The purpose of the chair is to bring nationally known political leaders, scholars and activists to Iowa State to enrich the experiences of students and educate citizens about the role of women in the political process. The event, which free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics through the generous support of donors.