Joseph Montoya

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Joseph Manuel Montoya
Joseph M Montoya.jpg
United States Senator
from New Mexico
In office
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 (Seat 2)
In office
April 9, 1957 – November 3, 1964
Preceded by Antonio M. Fernández
Succeeded by E. S. Johnny Walker
16th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1955 – April 1957
Governor John F. Simms
Edwin L. Mechem
Preceded by Ed V. Mead
Succeeded by Tibo J. Chávez
14th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1947 – January 1, 1951
Governor Thomas J. Mabry
Preceded by James B. Jones
Succeeded by Tibo J. Chávez
Personal details
Born (1915-09-24)September 24, 1915
Pena Blanca, New Mexico
Died June 8, 1978(1978-06-08) (aged 62)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic

Joseph Manuel Montoya (September 24, 1915 – June 8, 1978) was a Democratic U.S. Senator for New Mexico from 1964 until 1977.

Education[edit]

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.[1] 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..

Later life and career[edit]

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 State House of Representatives. In 1938 Montoya graduated from law school and was reelected. The following year he was elected the Democratic majority floor leader.

New Mexico politics[edit]

Montoya continued his political ascent with his election to the New Mexico State 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[2] and also served two additional terms in the State Senate.

U.S. Congress[edit]

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 Mexican 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 Redman, also an Albuquerque High School alum.[1] In 1963 he became a member of the House Appropriations Committee. 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 most memorably, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, popularly known as the Senate Watergate Committee.

Successes[edit]

Montoya's most important accomplishment was his work on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he gained expertise concerning the inspection and regulation of the meat packing industry. This led to an interest in consumer safety and health. He authored numerous pieces of legislation aimed at eliminating unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry, including the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, the Wholesome Poultry Act of 1968 and the Clean Hot Dog Act of 1974.

Beliefs and other work[edit]

Montoya also worked on behalf of civil rights, education, health care, alien workers. In the health-care area he supported medicare, medicaid, and introduced a bill to provide bilingual training for those in the health care professions. Montoya also supported environmental protection and programs to assist the elderly. His positions on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Senate Appropriations Committee allowed him to have a strong influence on maintenance of the federal installations in New Mexico.

In 1976 Montoya was defeated by Republican Harrison Schmitt by over 16 points.

Montoya spent the next two years primarily helping Senator Pete Domenici to keep the federal installations in New Mexico open. Montoya died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 62.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spanish Americans, Lives and faces
  2. ^ State of New Mexico (July 2012). Kathryn A. Flynn, ed. 2012 Centennial Blue Book. Diana J. Duran. Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State. pp. 218–219. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Antonio M. Fernández (d. November 7, 1956, leaving a vacancy)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's At-large congressional district (Seat 2)

1957–1964
Succeeded by
E. S. Johnny Walker
United States Senate
Preceded by
Edwin L. Mechem
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New Mexico
1964–1977
Served alongside: Clinton Presba Anderson, Pete Domenici
Succeeded by
Harrison Schmitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dennis Chavez
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(Class 1)

1964, 1970, 1976
Succeeded by
Jeff Bingaman