Michelle Lujan Grisham

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Michelle Lujan Grisham
Michelle Lujan Grisham official photo.jpg
32nd Governor of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
LieutenantHowie Morales
Preceded bySusana Martinez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2013 – December 31, 2018
Preceded byMartin Heinrich
Succeeded byDeb Haaland
Secretary of Health of New Mexico
In office
August 2004 – June 2007
GovernorBill Richardson
Preceded byPatricia Montoya
Succeeded byAlfredo Vigil
Personal details
Michelle Lynn Lujan

(1959-10-24) October 24, 1959 (age 59)
Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Gregory Grisham
(m. 1982; died 2004)
RelativesBen Ray Luján (cousin)
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
EducationUniversity of New Mexico (BS, JD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham (/ˈlhɑːn ˈɡrɪʃəm/; born October 24, 1959) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 32nd Governor of New Mexico. She previously represented New Mexico's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018. On November 6, 2018, she became the first Democratic woman elected as governor of New Mexico, as well as the first Democratic Latina elected state chief executive in the history of the United States.

Lujan Grisham previously served as Secretary of Health of New Mexico (2004–2007) and Bernalillo County Commissioner (2010–2012). She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 election, defeating Janice Arnold-Jones. In 2016, Lujan Grisham was selected as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.[1] Lujan Grisham won the Democratic nomination for Governor of New Mexico in the 2018 election and defeated Republican Steve Pearce, on November 6, 2018.

Early life, family, and education[edit]

Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe. Her father, Llewellyn "Buddy" Lujan,[2] practiced dentistry into his 80s until he died in March 2011. Her mother, Sonja, was a homemaker. Michelle's sister Kimberly was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of two and died at 21.[3]

Lujan Grisham says that her ancestors have inhabited New Mexico for 12 generations.[4] She is part of a prominent contemporary political family in New Mexico, many of whose members have served in elected and appointed positions in government.[5][6] Her uncle, Manuel Lujan Jr., served in the US House of Representatives from New Mexico as a Republican, and as Secretary of the Interior during the presidency of George H. W. Bush. He was the named petitioner in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife. Her grandfather, Eugene Lujan, was Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.[7] Her cousin, Ben Ray Luján, represents New Mexico's 3rd congressional district in the House of Representatives,[8] while his father, Ben Luján, was Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Lujan graduated from St. Michael's High School. She received a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 1981, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. The following year she married Gregory Alan Grisham. In 1987, Lujan Grisham earned a Juris Doctor from the UNM School of Law.[9][10]

Early political career[edit]

Lujan Grisham served as Director of New Mexico's Agency on Aging under Governors Bruce King, Gary Johnson and Bill Richardson. Richardson elevated the position to the state cabinet. In 2004, he named Lujan Grisham as New Mexico Secretary of Health; she retained the office until 2007.[10]

Lujan Grisham was later elected to the Bernalillo County Commission, serving from 2010 through 2012.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



She resigned as Secretary of Health in order to run for the United States House of Representatives in the 2008 elections, losing in the Democratic primary to Martin Heinrich, who won with 44% of the vote. New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron ranked second with 25% and Michelle Lujan-Grisham ranked third with 24%.[11][12][13]


Lujan Grisham sought the Democratic nomination for the House again in 2012 after Martin Heinrich decided to run for the United States Senate. She won the nomination, defeating Marty Chavez and Eric Griego.[14] She faced Janice Arnold-Jones, a former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, in the November general election.[15] Lujan Grisham defeated Arnold-Jones,[16] 59%–41%.[17]


Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Mike Frese in the 2014 elections, 59% to 41%.[18]


In 2016, Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Richard Priem, receiving 179,380 votes (65.1%) to Priem's 96,061 (34.9%).[19]


Lujan Grisham was sworn into a two-year term on January 3, 2013. In 2016 she was one of nine members of Congress who took a trip to Baku that was later found to have been secretly funded by the government of Azerbaijan, and had to turn over gifts the country gave her to the House Clerk after an ethics investigation. Both the Office of Congressional Ethics and House Ethics Committee found lawmakers and aides had no way of knowing the trip was being funded improperly.[20]

Lujan Grisham resigned her House seat as of December 31, 2018[21] to assume the governorship of New Mexico the following day.

Committee assignments[edit]


Governor of New Mexico[edit]


On December 13, 2016, one week after Tom Udall announced he would not run for Governor of New Mexico, Lujan Grisham became the first person to announce her candidacy to succeed Susana Martinez, who was prohibited from running because of term limits.[22] On June 5, 2018, she won the Democratic primary to become the party's nominee. On November 6, 2018 she was elected Governor of New Mexico in a race against Republican U.S. Representative Steve Pearce. She won with 56.9% (385,684) of the votes, while Pearce received 43.1% (292,043).


Lujan Grisham was sworn in on January 1, 2019.[23] In September 2019, she announced a plan to make public universities in New Mexico tuition free to state residents.[24]


Michelle Lujan Grisham speaking at a budget rally, May 2017


Lujan Grisham is pro-choice and supports access to safe, legal abortions.[25] She voted against an act that would have allowed states to deny Medicaid to any institution that offers abortions, even for non-related healthcare services (Medicaid does not cover spending for abortion).[26]

In 1969, the New Mexico Legislature passed a law that made it a felony for someone to provide a woman with an abortion unless it was needed to save a woman's life, or because her pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.[27] The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1973's Roe v. Wade barred states from regulating abortion in the first trimester;[28] consequently, New Mexico's 1969 abortion law became unenforceable.[29] In her 2019 State of the State address, Lujan Grisham stated her support for a repeal of the 1969 law; she said, "'The old criminal abortion law of this state, only one of nine left in the entire country, must go. Bring me that bill and I will sign it'".[30] Lujan Grisham published an op-ed in support of repeal on March 3, 2019.[31] Repeal legislation passed the New Mexico House of Representatives; however, that legislation was defeated in the Democrat-led State Senate on March 14, 2019 by a vote of 24-18.[29] Following the Senate vote, Lujan Grisham said, "'This old, outdated statute criminalizing health care providers is an embarrassment. That removing it was even a debate, much less a difficult vote for some senators, is inexplicable to me'".[32]

Civil rights[edit]

Lujan Grisham has pledged to fight discrimination based on race, religion, creed, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.[33] She was one of the main advocates for the recognition that same-sex partners are legally able to make healthcare decisions for each other, and New Mexico became the first state to add that provision in state law.[33]

Lujan Grisham has also been an advocate for elder rights and women's rights. She has been rated at 100% by the Alliance for Retired Americans due to her opposition to the privatization of Medicare or Social Security.[34] She voted for and helped pass the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016, which changed employment procedures at the Department of Veterans Affairs.[35] She voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.[33] She co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would enforce against gender-based wage discrimination.[33]


Lujan Grisham believes political spending does not count as free speech and has supported a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[29]


Lujan Grisham co-sponsored the Student Loan Fairness Act, which would forgive college loans after 10 years as long as 120 monthly payments had been made during that time.[36]


Lujan Grisham supports the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.[37] On January 29, 2019, she signed an executive order calling for New Mexico to join the United States Climate Alliance and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.[38] This executive order also called for the state to develop comprehensive regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and for state agencies to work with the legislature to increase the state's renewable portfolio standard.[39]

Freedom of the press[edit]

Lujan Grisham helped pass an amendment that prohibits the federal government from using taxpayer funds to force journalists to disclose their private sources.[40]


Lujan Grisham was a cosponsor for the 2015 Assault Weapon Ban H. R. 4269 Bill that was introduced into House legislation in December 12, 2015.[41]


Lujan Grisham opposes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. She co-sponsored the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act, which would make it easier for low-income people to get diagnosed for Alzheimer's.[42] She opposes the privatization of Medicare or Social Security.[34]


Lujan Grisham voted for Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which provides for additional infrastructure spending on federal highways.[43] She voted for the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, which extends current levels of Federal-aid highway funding.[44]


Lujan Grisham supports same sex-marriage and protection for LGBT minorities against discrimination in public schools [33]

Medical marijuana[edit]

In 2014, Lujan Grisham helped pass a resolution that prevented federal tax money from being used to interfere with medical marijuana programs that are legal in the state. [45]

Minimum wage[edit]

Lujan Grisham supports raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour. She co-sponsored a bill in 2013 that would have raised the minimum wage to $12 per hour and set it to rise based on the consumer price index after that.[29] In 2015 she co-sponsored legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $12/hour.[46]


Lujan Grisham co-sponsored a bill that would maintain SNAP, a program that helps very low-income people purchase basic types of food.[47]

Privacy of citizens[edit]

Lujan Grisham helped pass the USA Freedom Act in 2014, which amended federal policies with additional layers of protection for consumer privacy when it comes to phone taps, release of business records, and other private correspondence.[48]

Voting rights[edit]

Lujan Grisham co-sponsored two bills, H.R.12 & S.1088, which would make it easier for citizens to vote. The bills would require that each state have a free, publicly available website where citizens can register to vote. It would also allow for automated voter registration and same-day voter registration.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Lujan Grisham's husband, Gregory, died of a brain aneurysm in 2004. The couple had two daughters.[50] Lujan Grisham filed a wrongful death suit against her husband's physician,[51] which was dismissed.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bernal, Rafael (December 1, 2016). "Hispanic Caucus picks new leadership". The Hill. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  2. ^ MichelleLujanGrisham. "Happy Father's Day, New Mexico! Not a day goes by that I don't miss my dad Llewellyn "Buddy" Lujan. I learned about helping others by watching him work -- everyone was welcome in his chair. I hope everyone enjoys some quality time with their loved ones today! #nmpol". Twitter.
  3. ^ Seung Min Kim (January 28, 2013). "Sister's death drives Michelle Lujan Grisham". Politico.Com. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  4. ^ Lee, Morgan (November 7, 2018). "New Mexico elects Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham governor". AP NEWS.
  5. ^ National Journal (November 6, 2012). "New Mexico, 1st House District: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "NEWSMAKER: In New Mexico, it's good to be a Luján - Friday, June 26, 2015". www.eenews.net. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "Michelle Lujan Grisham running for First District seat". New Mexico Independent. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  8. ^ "New Mexico, 1st House District: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)". The Atlantic. November 6, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Harder, Amy. "New Mexico, 1st House District". NationalJournal.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "ABQJOURNAL NEWS/STATE: Former Health Secretary Grisham Announces for Congress". Abqjournal.com. October 11, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  11. ^ "NM District 1- D Primary Race – Jun 03, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  12. ^ Las Cruces Sun-News. FINAL RESULTS: June 3 primary election Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine June 20, 2008
  13. ^ Salazar, Martin (June 29, 2008). "ABQJOURNAL NEWS/METRO: Top UNM official red-faced over Lujan Grisham comments". Abqjournal.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  14. ^ "Third Democrat Vies to Succeed Heinrich in N.M. District : Roll Call Politics". Rollcall.com. August 17, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  15. ^ "Congressional opponents face off in first debate". KOB. September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  16. ^ "New Mexico Election Results 2012: Heinrich wins Senate race; Grisham joins her cousin Lujan in Congress; Latino population lifts Obama to win". Washington Post. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  17. ^ Reichbach, Matthew (November 7, 2012). "Lujan Grisham blowout could mean no more swing Congressional districts". New Mexico Telegram. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  18. ^ Ruiz, regina (November 5, 2014). "Michelle Lujan Grisham re-elected as congresswoman". KOAT-TV. Albuquerque, NM.
  19. ^ "New Mexico U.S. House 1st District Results: Michelle Lujan Grisham Wins". New York Times. New York, NY. December 13, 2016.
  20. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (June 16, 2016). "Lawmakers turned over gifts after secretly funded trip to Azerbaijan". TheHill. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  21. ^ "House Session". C-SPAN. December 27, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Boyd, Dan (December 13, 2016). "Lujan Grisham running for governor". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham promises sweeping change under her leadership". Koat.com. January 1, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  24. ^ https://www.abqjournal.com/1367689/lujan-grisham-to-propose-free-college-for-all-new-mexicans.html
  25. ^ OnTheIssues.org. "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on the Issues". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  26. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "New Mexico Senate upholds dormant ban on abortion". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  28. ^ Buell, Samuel (January 1, 1991). "Criminal Abortion Revisited". New York University Law Review. 66: 1774–1831.
  29. ^ a b c d "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Corporations". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  30. ^ Ortega, May. "Lujan Grisham Vows To Repeal State Abortion Ban". www.kunm.org.
  31. ^ Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham | Governor, New. "OPINION | Governor will remove NM's ban on abortions". www.abqjournal.com.
  32. ^ Prokop, Danielle (March 15, 2019). "Senate rejects repealing currently unenforceable anti-abortion law". The NM Political Report.
  33. ^ a b c d e "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Civil Rights". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Social Security". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  35. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  36. ^ "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Education". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  37. ^ "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Energy & Oil". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  38. ^ writers, Dan Boyd and Kevin Robinson-Avila|Journal staff. "Governor signs executive order on climate change". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  39. ^ "New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Joins U.S. Climate Alliance". U.S. Climate Alliance. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  40. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  41. ^ Cicilline, David N. (January 15, 2016). "Cosponsors - H.R.4269 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Assault Weapons Ban of 2015". www.congress.gov.
  42. ^ "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Health Care". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  43. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  44. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  45. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  46. ^ "Dems in Congress pushing for $12 per hour minimum wage | The NM Political Report". nmpoliticalreport.com. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  47. ^ "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Welfare & Poverty". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  48. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  49. ^ "Michelle Lujan-Grisham on Government Reform". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  50. ^ a b Heild, Colleen (December 23, 2007). "ABQjournal Metro: Doctor Says Dropped Suit Hurt Reputation". Abqjournal.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  51. ^ New Mexico Business Weekly. "Former health secretary files wrongful death suit – New Mexico Business Weekly". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Martin Heinrich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Deb Haaland
Preceded by
Linda Sánchez
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Succeeded by
Joaquín Castro
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gary King
Democratic nominee for Governor of New Mexico
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Susana Martinez
Governor of New Mexico
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
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Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within New Mexico
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Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Kevin Stitt
as Governor of Oklahoma
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside New Mexico
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as Governor of Arizona