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A couple of months after Susana Martinez took office, I ran into an old friend who was once active in Republican party affairs and asked him whether he thought the new governor was up to the job.
“Not yet,” he replied with a chuckle, “but give her a year and she should be.”
My friend’s tempered response came in the wake of Martinez’s nomination of former Republican U.S. Sen. Harrison Schmitt to be her secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
Schmitt accepted the nomination but shortly bowed out after it became known that he had previously characterized environmentalists as “communists” and had dismissed renewable energy as incompatible with “real economic environment.”
Schmitt’s stated reason for declining the nomination was his unwillingness to undergo a background check preliminary to Senate confirmation hearings, leaving onlookers to wonder just how thoroughly the governor and her aides had investigated Schmitt’s appointment before announcing it.
Had they not familiarized themselves with his record of provocative public statements? Was he not told to expect a background review?
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