Ben Ray Luján

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Ben Ray Luján
Ben Ray Lujan, 117th Congress portrait 2.jpg
United States Senator
from New Mexico
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Serving with Martin Heinrich
Preceded byTom Udall
Assistant Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byJim Clyburn (Assistant Democratic Leader)
Succeeded byKatherine Clark
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
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byTom Udall
Succeeded byTeresa Leger Fernandez
Member of the
New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
from the 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byJerome Block[1]
Succeeded byJerome Block Jr.
Personal details
Born (1972-06-07) June 7, 1972 (age 49)
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesBen Luján (father)
EducationNew Mexico Highlands University (BBA)
Signature
WebsiteSenate website

Ben Ray Luján (/lˈhɑːn/ loo-HAHN;[2] born June 7, 1972) is an American politician serving as the junior United States senator from New Mexico since 2021. He served as the U.S. representative for New Mexico's 3rd congressional district from 2009 to 2021 and the assistant House Democratic leader (officially the "Assistant Speaker") from 2019 to 2021. He served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008, where he also served as chairman.

Luján was selected as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2014 and led the Democrats to win a House majority in the 2018 elections. He was the first Hispanic to serve in this role.[3] In his role as Assistant House Democratic Leader, Luján was the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.

On April 1, 2019, Luján announced his intention to seek the United States Senate seat being vacated by two-term Democratic incumbent Tom Udall in the 2020 election.[4] He defeated Republican Mark Ronchetti in the general election on November 3, 2020,[5][6] and took office on January 3, 2021.

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Ben Ray Luján was born in Nambé Pueblo, New Mexico, as the last child of Carmen (Ray) 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.[7]

After graduating from Pojoaque Valley High School, he worked as a blackjack dealer at a Lake Tahoe casino and a Northern New Mexico tribal casino.[8] After his stint as a dealer, he attended the University of New Mexico and later received a BBA degree from New Mexico Highlands University.[9]

Public Regulation Commission[edit]

Luján was elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission 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.[9] 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.[9]

Luján joined regulators in California, Oregon, and Washington to sign the Joint Action Framework on Climate Change to implement regional solutions to global warming.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

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 to East's 30% and Miller's 13%.[11]

2010

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

2012

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

2014

Luján won reelection against Byrd again, with 61.52% of the vote.[12]

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.

Tenure[edit]

Luján has been a proponent of health care reform, including a public option. In October 2009, he gave a speech on the House floor calling for a public option to be included in the House health care bill.[13]

In June 2009, Luján voted for an amendment that would require the United States 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.[14] 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 A. McChrystal and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[14]

In 2011, Luján was a co-sponsor of Bill H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.[15]

Energy policy[edit]

According to his campaign website, Luján has been active in environmental regulation.[16][better source needed] He chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Green Economy and Renewable Energy Task Force.[16] 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.[16] Luján has high ratings from interest groups such as Environment America and the Sierra Club.[14]

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.[17]

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.[18]

Education policy[edit]

Luján has been supported by the National Education Association.[19] He supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act[16] and student loan reform. He cosponsored the STEM Education Coordination Act in an effort to produce more scientists and innovators in the United States.[16]

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 issues[edit]

Luján has supported increased funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.[16] He opposed the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 and was in favor of preserving sacred Native American ground.[20] Luján worked to create legislation enabling tribes to directly request disaster assistance from the president.[21] Luján's district contains 15 separate Pueblo tribes as well as tribal lands of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation.[22] 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 reelection campaign.[23]

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.

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

U.S Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

2020[edit]

On April 1, 2019, Luján announced he was running to succeed retiring Senator Tom Udall in the 2020 election.[4] On June 2, 2020, Luján won the Democratic primary unopposed. He defeated Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti in the general election 51.7% to 45.6%.[26]

Tenure[edit]

117th Congress (2021–present)[edit]

Luján was sworn into the Senate on January 3, 2021. He was accompanied by the outgoing Senator, Tom Udall.[27]

On January 6, 2021, he was participating in the certification of the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. He called the attack a "siege" and "a direct attack on our nation's democracy."[28] In the wake of the attack, Luján said he would vote to impeach Trump "for inciting an insurrection."[29]

Energy[edit]

In February 2021, Luján was one of seven Democratic U.S. Senators to join Republicans in blocking a ban of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.[30]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Luján is a Catholic.[31]

Electoral history[edit]

2008 Democratic Primary Congressional Election, District 3[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján 26,667 41.58
Democratic Don Wiviott 16,314 25.44
Democratic Benny J. Shendo Jr. 10,113 15.77
Democratic Harry Montoya 7,205 11.23
Democratic Jon Adams 1,993 3.11
Democratic Rudy Martin 1,838 2.87
2008 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico: District 3[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján 161,292 56.74
Republican Daniel K. East 86,618 30.47
Independent Carol Miller 36,348 12.79
Total votes 284,258 100.00
Democratic hold
2010 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico: District 3[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján (Incumbent) 120,057 56.99
Republican Thomas E. Mullins 90,621 43.01
Total votes 210,678 100.00
Democratic hold
2012 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico: District 3[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján (Incumbent) 167,103 63.12
Republican Jefferson L. Byrd 97,616 36.88
Total votes 264,719 100.00
Democratic hold


2016 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico: District 3[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján (Incumbent) 170,612 62.42
Republican Michael H. Romero 102,730 37.58
Total votes 273,342 100.00
Democratic hold
2018 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico: District 3
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Ray Luján (Incumbent) 155,201 63.04
Republican Jerald S. McFall 76,427 31.02
Libertarian Christopher Manning 13,265 5.4
Total votes 244,893 100.00
Democratic hold
2020 United States Senate election in New Mexico[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ben Ray Luján 474,483 51.73% -3.83%
Republican Mark Ronchetti 418,483 45.62% +1.18%
Libertarian Bob Walsh 24,271 2.65% N/A
Total votes 917,237 100.0% N/A
Democratic hold

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ Taylor, Jessica (January 6, 2019). "A Guide To Who's Who In House Leadership For The 116th Congress". NPR. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Arkin, James. "Luján announces Senate run in New Mexico". POLITICO. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Acevedo, Nicole. "Latinos gain a Senate seat with Ben Ray Lujan's win in New Mexico". NBC News. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Homan, Timothy R. (November 4, 2020). "Democrat Ben Ray Luján wins open Senate seat in New Mexico". TheHill. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  7. ^ "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).
  8. ^ [1], Abq Journal
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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 Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ 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 Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Bill H.R.3261 Archived March 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine; GovTrack.us;
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Issues". Ben Ray Lujan for Congress. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ Writer, Scott Turner | Journal Staff. "Luján's plan requires net-zero carbon emissions by 2050". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  19. ^ "Ben Lujan, Jr.'s Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ About the District. Website of Congressman Ben Jay Luján Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ National Institute on Money in State Politics. "Lujan, Ben R." followthemoney.org. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  24. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  26. ^ "New Mexico U.S. Senate Election Results". The New York Times. January 5, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  27. ^ "Ben Ray Luján sworn in as New Mexico Senator". KRQE News 13 Albuquerque - Santa Fe. January 4, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  28. ^ "Luján Condemns Wednesday's Violence At U.S. Capitol". Los Alamos Reporter. January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  29. ^ "New Mexico officials react after House votes to impeach Trump". KRQE News 13 Albuquerque - Santa Fe. January 14, 2021. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  30. ^ "Roll Call Vote 117th Congress - 1st Session". senate.gov. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  31. ^ Fontelo, Paul V. (January 9, 2021). "Catholics rise to prominence in newest Congress". Arkansas Online. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  32. ^ "2008 Primary Results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  33. ^ "2008 Election Results" (PDF).
  34. ^ "2010 Election Results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  35. ^ "Statewide Results". New Mexico Secretary of State. Archived from the original on December 27, 2017.
  36. ^ "Election Night Results - November 8, 2016". New Mexico Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  37. ^ "Official Results - 2020 General November 3, 2020". New Mexico Secretary of State. Retrieved November 24, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 3rd congressional district

2009–2021
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
2015–2019
Succeeded by
Preceded byas House Assistant Democratic Leader Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives
2019–2021
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(Class 2)

2020
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Mexico
2021–present
Served alongside: Martin Heinrich
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States senators by seniority
92nd
Succeeded by