ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — A governor appointee was arrested Thursday night for driving drunk on westbound I-40 near the Laguna Pueblo.
Denise Baker, 52, who was chosen by Gov. Susana Martinez to chair the New Mexico Finance Authority, was charged with DWI and driving on roadways laned for traffic. She was booked into the Cibola County Adult Detention Center on a $1,200 bond. She has since bonded out of jail.
State Police said another driver called the Drunk Busters hotline around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday about a white SUV swerving all over the road and not letting traffic pass on westbound I-40. Laguna Police pulled Baker over but called State Police to conduct the investigation because Baker was a non-tribal member, according to police. Officers said Baker smelled of alcohol and failed field sobriety tests.
Baker, founder of an Albuquerque electrical contracting company, D.R.B. Electric, has also rubbed elbows with political big-wigs, including former First Lady Laura Bush, Republican Senate nominee Heather Wilson and Gov. Susana Martinez.
Baker was appointed to the Finance Authority, which helps local governments and businesses find funding for capital projects, last summer. She was also on Martinez's transition team.
"It's very saddening," said Martinez. "A professional woman, who is very successful and did a wonderful job for the state of New Mexico and for her business, but by the same token, the law applies to everyone who is driving drunk."
Martinez said she is confident Baker will resign as chairwoman of the Finance Authority.
"She's a smart woman and certainly understands the impact this has had on her position," said Martinez.
Martinez said she cannot remove Baker from the Finance Authority unless it's for misconduct related to the job. Martinez said it is up to Baker to resign. The position is unpaid.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.