Joseph Manuel Montoya (September 24, 1915 – June 5, 1978) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the lieutenant governor of New Mexico (1947–1951 and 1955–1957), in the U.S. House of Representatives (1957–1964) and as a U.S. senator from New Mexico (1964–1977).
|United States Senator|
from New Mexico
November 4, 1964 – January 3, 1977
|Preceded by||Edwin L. Mechem|
|Succeeded by||Harrison Schmitt|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Mexico's at-large district
April 9, 1957 – November 3, 1964
|Preceded by||Antonio M. Fernández|
|Succeeded by||Johnny Walker|
|14th and 16th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico|
January 1, 1955 – April 9, 1957
|Governor||John F. Simms|
Edwin L. Mechem
|Preceded by||Tibo J. Chávez|
|Succeeded by||Ed V. Mead|
January 1, 1947 – January 1, 1951
|Governor||Thomas J. Mabry|
|Preceded by||James B. Jones|
|Succeeded by||Tibo J. Chávez|
|Member of the New Mexico Senate|
|Member of the|
New Mexico House of Representatives
Joseph Manuel Montoya
September 24, 1915
Pena Blanca, New Mexico, U.S.
|Died||June 5, 1978 (aged 62)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Regis University (BA)|
Georgetown University (LLB)
Early life and educationEdit
Montoya was born in Peña Blanca, New Mexico. His parents, Thomas and Frances Montoya, were Roman Catholic descendants of eighteenth-century Spanish settlers to New Mexico. He received his early education in public schools in Sandoval County and graduated from Bernalillo High School in 1931. He continued his education at Regis College in Denver, Colorado. In 1934, he began law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C..
In 1936 at age 21, while Montoya was still at Georgetown, he became the youngest representative in the history of the state to be elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives. In 1938, Montoya graduated from law school and was re-elected. The following year, he was elected the Democratic majority floor leader.
Montoya was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1940, once again becoming the youngest member of that body ever elected. By the time he left the Senate in 1946, Montoya had been twice reelected to the State Senate and held the positions of majority whip and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. From 1947 to 1957 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico three times and also served two additional terms in the State Senate.
In 1957 Montoya was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election after the sudden death of the recently reelected New Mexico Congressman Antonio M. Fernández. In Congress Montoya gained a recognition as a political moderate, a dedicated Democrat, and a diligent legislator — qualities that earned him the esteem of his fellow legislators and made him an effective congressman. In 1962, he defeated Republican Jack C. Redman, M.D.
In 1963, he became a member of the House Appropriations Committee where he was a strong advocate of education measures and soon authored the Vocational Education Act. In 1964, he sponsored the Wilderness Act, which protected wilderness areas. Montoya won the 1964 Senate election to complete the term of Dennis Chavez, who died in office. Montoya won even though the Governor of New Mexico, Edwin L. Mechem, had resigned the governorship in order fill the seat temporarily. Thus began a twelve-year career in the Senate, where he served on the Appropriations Committee, the Public Works Committee, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and Senate Watergate Committee.
In 1976, a year that was a Democratic victory nationwide, Montoya was defeated by Republican Harrison Schmitt 57% to 42%.
Montoya died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 62.
- United States Congress. "Joseph Montoya (id: M000876)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Inventory of the Joseph M. Montoya Papers, 1913–1977, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.
- Appearances on C-SPAN