New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez made her national debut before a live and television audience Wednesday night during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fl.
Martinez introduced GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan after her 10 minute speech, which drew applause, cheers and at some points, standing ovations from the convention delegates.
Martinez, who is the first Latina to be elected governor, spoke about her modest upbringing, working for her parents' security company as a parking lot guard during church bingo games, and her decision to attend law school and run for Dona Ana County district attorney.
"I took on a specialty that very few choose to pursue. I prosecuted child abuse and child homicide cases," Martinez said, her voice revealing her passion. "Cases that were truly gut-wrenching. But standing up for those kids, being their voice for justice was the honor of a lifetime."
Her replacement as Dona Ana County district attorney, Amy Orlando, watched the governor's nationally televised speech with more than a handful of other friends and former colleagues at a home in Las Cruces. The small crowd cheered as Martinez took the stage and watched intently as she spoke about her work as governor and the perceived failings of the Obama administration to alleviate the national debt.
"Standing up there and talking about ... Gov. Romney being the next president, she represented New Mexico and all the citizens in such a great light," Orlando told ABC-7.
Martinez has been painted as a rising star in the Republican party after her win at the state level in 2010. The first female governor of New Mexico was considered to be on the short list of potential vice presidential candidates before the Romney campaign made its decision public.