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Ben Ray Luján (/lˈhɑːn/;[2] born June 7, 1972) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 3rd congressional district since 2009 and as the Assistant House Speaker since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, Luján previously served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008, where he also served as Chairman. In Congress, he was selected to be Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2014 and led the Democrats to win a majority in the House in the 2018 elections. Luján's district is based in Santa Fe, the state capital, and includes most of the northern portion of the state. On April 1, 2019, he announced his intention to seek the United States Senate seat being vacated by two-term Democratic incumbent Tom Udall in the 2020 election.[3]

Ben Ray Luján
BenLujan2016.jpg
Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byJim Clyburn (Assistant Democratic Leader)
Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded bySteve Israel
Succeeded byCheri Bustos
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded byTom Udall
Member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
from the 3rd district
In office
January 2005 – January 2009
Preceded byJerome Block (I)[1]
Succeeded byJerome Block (II)
Personal details
Born (1972-06-07) June 7, 1972 (age 47)
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesBen Luján (father)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (cousin)
EducationUniversity of New Mexico
New Mexico Highlands University (BBA)
WebsiteHouse website

As Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Luján was credited for winning a Democratic majority and electing the most diverse Congress in history in the 2018 elections, including more than 100 women. He was the first Hispanic to serve in this role.[4]

In his role as the Assistant House Speaker, Luján is the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.

Early life, education, and early careerEdit

Ben Ray Luján was born in Nambé, New Mexico, as the last child of Carmen and Ben Luján, and has two older sisters and an older brother. His father, Ben Luján, went into politics in 1970 when he was elected to the County Commission. From 1975, he was as a longtime member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, serving as Majority Whip and Speaker of the House.[5] His mother is a retired administrator with the Pojoaque Valley School System.

After graduating from Pojoaque Valley High School, he worked as a blackjack dealer at both a Lake Tahoe casino and a Northern New Mexico tribal casino.[6] After his stint being a dealer, he attended the University of New Mexico and later received a BBA degree from New Mexico Highlands University.[7] Luján has held several public service positions. He was the Deputy State Treasurer and the Director of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer for the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department prior to his election to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Public Regulation CommissionEdit

Luján was elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) in November 2004. He represented PRC district 3 which encompasses northeastern, north central and central New Mexico. His served as chairman of the PRC in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His term on the PRC ended at the end of 2008.[7] He helped to increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard in New Mexico that requires utilities to use 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Luján also required utilities to diversify their renewable use to include solar, wind and biomass.[7]

Luján joined regulators in California, Oregon, and Washington to sign the Joint Action Framework on Climate Change to implement regional solutions to global warming.[8]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

ElectionsEdit

2008

In 2008, Luján ran to succeed U.S. Representative Tom Udall in New Mexico's 3rd congressional district. Udall gave up the seat to make what would be a successful bid for the United States Senate. On June 3, 2008, Luján won the Democratic primary, defeating five other candidates. His closest competitor, developer Don Wiviott, received 26 percent to Luján's 42 percent.

Luján faced Republican Dan East and independent Carol Miller in the general election and won with 57% of the vote compared to East's 30% and Miller's 13%.[9]

2010

Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Thomas E. Mullins with 56.99% of the vote.

2012

Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Jefferson L. Byrd with 63.12% of the vote.

2014

Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Jefferson L. Byrd with 61.52% of the vote.[10]

2016

Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Michael H. Romero with 62.42% of the vote.

2018

Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Jerald Steve McFall with 63.4% of the vote.

TenureEdit

Luján has been a proponent of health care reform, including a public option. In October 2009, Luján gave a speech on the House floor calling for a public option to be included in the House health care bill.[11]

In June 2009, Luján voted for an amendment that would require the U.S. Secretary of Defense to present a plan including a complete exit strategy for Afghanistan by the end of the year. The amendment did not pass.[12] In September 2009, Luján wrote a letter urging the Obama Administration not to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. In his letter, he drew on conversations he had with General Stanley McChrystal and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[12]

Energy policyEdit

Luján has been active in environmental regulation.[13] He chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Green Economy and Renewable Energy Task Force.[13] Luján has initiated several pieces of legislation regarding renewable energy such as the SOLAR Act. He co-authored the Community College Energy Training Act of 2009. He also supports natural gas usage and the New Alternative Transportations to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009.[13] Luján has high ratings from interest groups such as Environment America and the Sierra Club.[12]

Luján serves on the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force. He has introduced legislation to provide relief to communities and businesses impacted by PFAS/PFOA contamination in groundwater around Air Force bases in New Mexico and across the country.[14]

In addition to supporting the Green New Deal, an economic stimulus package that aims to address climate change and economic inequality, Luján has developed legislation to put the United States on a path to net-zero carbon emission and address climate change.[15][16]

Education policyEdit

Luján has been supported by the National Education Association.[17] Luján supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.[13] He supports student loan reform. He cosponsored the STEM Education Coordination Act in an effort to produce more scientists and innovators in the United States.[13]

Luján has pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bridge the digital divide to expand opportunities for rural communities. In 2018, he joined FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on a bus ride where students learned to code during their drive time.

Native American issuesEdit

Luján has supported increased funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.[13] He opposed the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 and was in favor of preserving sacred Native American ground.[18] Luján worked to create legislation enabling tribes to directly request disaster assistance from the president.[19] Luján's district contains 15 separate Pueblo tribes as well as tribal lands of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation.[20] In February 2009, Luján introduced a series of five water accessibility bills that, along with improving access to water for the many communities in the district, would also give federal funds to Indian tribes. Along with Harry Teague (D-NM) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Luján sponsored an amendment to the House health care bill that would extend the current Indian Health Care system until 2025. Tribal governments were major donors to his 2012 re-election campaign.[21]

Luján has worked with the New Mexico Congressional Delegation to protect the greater Chaco Canyon region from oil and gas drilling and methane emissions. He participated in a Congressional Delegation visit to Chaco Canyon and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 2019, to study the effects of methane emissions on sacred sites.

In infrastructure negotiations with President Trump at the White House, Luján stressed the importance of investing in rural broadband connectivity as a means of addressing cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Trump administrationEdit

On August 19, 2019, Luján stated his support of an impeachment inquiry.[22]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

Legislative historyEdit

In 2011, Luján was a co-sponsor of Bill H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - NM Public Regulation Commissioner 03 Race - Nov 02, 2004". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  2. ^ As pronounced by himself in "Acequia". Archived February 13, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Arkin, James. "Luján announces Senate run in New Mexico". POLITICO.
  4. ^ "A Guide To Who's Who In House Leadership For The 116th Congress". NPR.org. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "A memorial recognizing Speaker of the House of Representatives Ben Lujan's contribution to the State of New Mexico and wishing him well on his retirement from the New Mexico Legislature". New Mexico Legislature (nmlegis.gov). 2012 Regular Session - HM 64. March 22, 2012. Final version. Retrieved December 18, 2016. Noting that he began his service in the house of representatives in 1975, the resolution further states: "Speaker Lujan was elected by his caucus to be majority whip in 1983 and majority floor leader in 1999, before being elected speaker of the house of representatives in 2001, placing him among just a handful of legislators across the country who have served in leadership positions continuously for thirty years" (p. 1).
  6. ^ [1], Abq Journal
  7. ^ a b c "Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.)". Who Runs Gov. Published by The Washington Post. 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ Oregon Agrees to Climate Change Framework Adopted by Four Public Utility Commissions. State of Oregon Public Utility Commission Archived November 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Baker, Deborah. Lujan wins Democratic nomination, East gets GOP nod, in 3rd District. Portales News-Tribune. June 4, 2008. Archived June 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Garcia, Kristen (November 4, 2014). "Democrat Lujan defeats Byrd for U.S. House District 3". KOB TV. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014.
  11. ^ Lujan, Ben. "Luján: We Must Demand A Public Option" [press release]. October 23, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2016 via Project Vote Smart; also available at lujan.house.gov/press-releases.
  12. ^ a b c Lujan, Ben. "Rep. Luján Urges Administration To Reject Troop Increase In Afghanistan" [press release]. September 25, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2016 via Project Vote Smart; also available at lujan.house.gov/press-releases.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Issues". Ben Ray Lujan for Congress. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  14. ^ "Udall, Heinrich, Luján Introduce Legislation to Provide Relief to New Mexico Communities Affected by PFAS | U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján". lujan.house.gov. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "Green New Deal", Wikipedia, May 30, 2019, retrieved May 30, 2019
  16. ^ Writer, Scott Turner | Journal Staff. "Luján's plan requires net-zero carbon emissions by 2050". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  17. ^ "Ben Lujan, Jr.'s Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 - Public Statements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. September 21, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  19. ^ "Luján: Legislation Enabling Tribes to Request Disaster Assistance Directly from the President Passes House - Public Statements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. September 21, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  20. ^ About the District. Website of Congressman Ben Jay Luján Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ National Institute on Money in State Politics. ""Lujan, Ben R."". followthemoney.org. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  22. ^ "Luján Statement on Impeachment Inquiry". Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  23. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  24. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  25. ^ Bill H.R.3261; GovTrack.us;

External linksEdit