January 18, 2023

Martinez elected Speaker of the House: ‘Let’s go to work’

State Rep. Javier Martinez addresses the media prior to being named Speaker of the House on Jan. 17, 2023.

State Rep. Javier Martinez addresses the media prior to being named Speaker of the House on Jan. 17, 2023.

State Representatives elected Javier Martinez as Speaker of the House on Tuesday.

Republicans nominated state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell.

Martinez won the Speaker of the House with 45 votes to Ezzell’s 25 votes.

In Martinez’s speech, he mentioned that the New Mexico Legislature needs to be modernized and that this is a nonpartisan endeavor.

“We have a 19th century legislative system for a 21st century society and economy,” Martinez said. 

Martinez said that he takes his role as Speaker of the House and as a state representative seriously as do other members of the House.

“Each and everyone of us serves because of our shared love for us and the communities that we represent and for the change and for the chance to help preserve what makes the state so special and help make it even better for our children and our grandchildren,” Martinez said. “We all have good ideas. Democrats have good ideas. Republicans have good ideas. Independents have good ideas. Let us not forget this tremendous honor, the honor of a lifetime. I look forward to serving you as your speaker and to working with all of you to meet the challenges and maximize the opportunities that are facing our state today. Vamonos a trabajar. Let’s go to work.”

At a press briefing prior to the House opening floor session, Martinez spoke more about the legislature modernization initiative which includes paid full-time staff, paying all legislators for their time and extending the session.

“This is truly about building a more equitable, more fair, more effective and more efficient system of government for the people of New Mexico from blue counties to red counties and everything in between,” Martinez said.

He also spoke about community safety including crime prevention and deterrence, addressing gun violence, investing in law enforcement, housing and behavioral health.

“It is about ensuring that the most violent and dangerous criminals are not released onto our streets prematurely,” Martinez said in the press briefing.“ As we talked about the process of community safety, housing and health care go hand in hand. Right now far too many New Mexicans are struggling and cannot address critical access critical resources and that includes their health care, behavioral health, and sometimes even just a roof over their head.”