The Santa Fe New Mexican takes a look today at the will-be first gentleman of New Mexico – Chuck Franco, Gov.-elect Susana Martinez’s husband.
Franco, who finishes his tenure as Doña Ana County’s undersheriff at the end of the year, has spent his career in law enforcement, working for the Las Cruces, NMSU and Doña Ana County Sheriff’s departments and as a game warden for the state’s Game and Fish Department.
He’s worked undercover, and that’s how Martinez met him, The New Mexican reports today in its profile:
“He was at the Doña Ana County District Attorney’s Office to present a case to Martinez, who was new to her job at the time. She was out of her office, so he sat down to wait. When she returned to her office and saw him there, she thought he was ‘a bad guy,’ as he tells it, and immediately called security.
“No wonder: Franco at the time was dressed like a gang member, with a hair net, a tattoo, earrings and what he calls a ‘grandpa T-shirt.’
“Martinez then was introduced to Agent Franco.
“He immediately took a liking to her, and remembers being impressed that she was so ‘on her toes.’ He laughs when he says that it wasn’t until he ‘cleaned up’ — he is prone to wear cowboy hats, boots and other western wear — that she took a liking to him.”
Franco’s career includes work with juveniles and gangs. He’s worked some of the most horrific cases in Las Cruces, including the bowling alley massacre that left four people dead in 1990.
Franco’s role as the state’s first gentleman isn’t clear. He’s the first man to hold that title because Martinez is the state’s first female governor. As The New Mexican reports, “past gubernatorial spouses have played the part in various ways.”
“For example, first lady Barbara Richardson has worked on several issues, including domestic violence, during Gov. Bill Richardson’s tenure, but has been increasingly less noticeable, hardly being seen in public for months.
“Former first lady Alice King, in contrast, played a major role in her husband’s administrations, helping run some agencies, while the last Republican governor’s spouse, the late Dee Johnson, chose to focus on specific issues, such as a ban on smoking in the state Capitol.”
Read more from The New Mexican here.
Disclosure: A lot of years ago, Franco worked for my father at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. A prior version of this posting incorrectly said the bowling alley massacre was in 1980.