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 – January 1, 2019
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 62)
Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Gregory Grisham
(m. 1982; died 2004)
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
EducationUniversity of New Mexico (BA, 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 since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, Lujan Grisham previously served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 1st congressional district from 2013 to 2019.

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

Early life and education[edit]

Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe. Her father, Llewellyn "Buddy" Lujan,[1] 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.[2]

Lujan Grisham says that her ancestors have inhabited New Mexico for 12 generations.[3] She is part of the prominent Lujan political family in New Mexico, many of whose members have served in elected and appointed positions in government.[4][5][6]

Lujan graduated from St. Michael's High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts in university studies from the University of New Mexico in 1981, where she was a work study student in the engineering department and a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.[7][8] In 1982, she married Gregory Alan Grisham. She also worked as a technical writing intern for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. In 1987, Lujan Grisham earned a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law.[9][10]

Early political career[edit]

Lujan Grisham served as director of the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department under Bruce King, Gary Johnson, and Bill Richardson. During Richardson's tenure, the position was elevated to the state cabinet level. In 2004, he named Lujan Grisham as New Mexico Secretary of Health and she served in the position until 2007.[10]

Lujan Grisham was later elected to the Bernalillo County Commission, serving from 2010 to 2012.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Lujan Grisham 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%.[12][13][14]


Lujan Grisham sought the Democratic nomination for the House again in 2012 after Heinrich decided to run for the United States Senate. She won the nomination, defeating Marty Chavez and Eric Griego.[15] She defeated Janice Arnold-Jones, a former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, in the November general election,[16][17] 59%–41%.[18]


Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Mike Frese in the 2014 elections, 59% to 41%.[19]


In 2016, Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Richard Priem, receiving 179,380 votes (65.1%) to Priem's 96,061 (34.9%).[20]


Lujan Grisham was sworn in as a member of Congress 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; she 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.[21]

Also in 2016, Lujan Grisham was selected as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.[22]

Lujan Grisham resigned her House seat as of December 31, 2018 to assume the governorship of New Mexico the following day.[23]

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.[24] On June 5, 2018, she won the Democratic primary to become the party's nominee. On November 6, she was elected governor, defeating the Republican nominee, U.S. Representative Steve Pearce, with 56.9% of the vote.[25]


Lujan Grisham was sworn in on January 1, 2019.[26] In September 2019, she announced a plan to make public universities in New Mexico tuition-free to state residents.[27]

On September 5, 2020, Lujan Grisham was named a co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which is planning Joe Biden's presidential transition.[28][29] In November, Lujan Grisham was named a candidate for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration.[30] On December 3, 2020, she was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association for 2021, having served as vice chair in 2020.[31]

In August 2021, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order joining Biden's "30x30" land goal.[32]

Political positions[edit]

Michelle Lujan Grisham speaking at a budget rally, May 2017


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.[33] The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1973's Roe v. Wade barred states from regulating abortion in the first trimester;[34] consequently, New Mexico's 1969 abortion law became unenforceable.[35][36] 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'".[37] Lujan Grisham published an op-ed in support of repeal on March 3, 2019.[38] Repeal legislation passed the New Mexico House of Representatives;[39] however, that legislation was defeated in the Democratic-led State Senate on March 14, 2019, by a vote of 24–18.[36] 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'".[40]

In 2021, the New Mexico legislature passed SB10, a repeal of the 1969 abortion law. The bill was approved in the House by a 40–30 margin and in the Senate by a 25–17 margin. Governor Lujan Grisham signed it into law on February 26, 2021.[41][42]


On January 29, 2019, Lujan Grisham 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.[43] 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.[44]

In March 2019, Lujan Grisham signed New Mexico's Energy Transition Act. The legislation transitions the state's electricity sector away from coal and natural gas and toward a renewable economy, requiring New Mexico's electricity to be 50% renewable by 2030 and 100% from zero-carbon sources by 2045. She called the legislation "a promise to future generations of New Mexicans."[45]

Marijuana legalization[edit]

In 2019, after a bill to legalize recreational marijuana passed the New Mexico House but not the Senate, Lujan Grisham announced that she would add the issue to the legislative agenda for the upcoming year.[46] She also announced the formation of a working group to determine the best path forward for legalization during the 2020 session.[47] In 2021, after the legislature failed to legalize cannabis during the regular session, Lujan Grisham called a special session so that lawmakers could pass a legalization bill.[48] She signed the bill into law on April 12, 2021.[49]


Lujan Grisham was a co-sponsor of the 2015 Assault Weapon Ban H. R. 4269 Bill that was introduced on December 12, 2015.[50]

Minimum wage[edit]

In 2015, Lujan Grisham co-sponsored legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $12/hour.[51]


Lujan Grisham is a strong supporter of Israel. She condemned the United Nations Security Council's criticism of Israel's settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Lujan Grisham's husband, Gregory, died of a brain aneurysm in 2004. The couple had two daughters.[53] Lujan Grisham filed a wrongful death suit against her husband's physician,[54] but the lawsuit was dropped.[53]

Sexual harassment and controversies[edit]

From November 2020 to March 2021 Lujan Grisham's gubernatorial campaign made five monthly payments of $12,500 each (totaling $62,500) to settle a sexual harassment complaint made by her former campaign spokesperson, James Hallinan. Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of pouring a bottle of water on his crotch and then grabbing his crotch through his clothes while she laughed. The incident allegedly occurred in the presence of other campaign staffers. The campaign denied the accusations.[55]

In February 2021, an investigative team from KOB (TV) found reports of more than $6,500 worth of groceries bought from the governor’s contingency fund to the governor's residence. “According to receipts made public through an Inspection of Public Records Act request, the items include anything from laundry detergent to Wagyu beef, tuna steaks, top sirloin and hundreds of dollars in alcohol purchases.”[56]

In May 2021, Lujan Grisham and 12 others were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the former executive director of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, alleging that she was not compensated at the same rate as her male counterparts.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Seung Min Kim (January 28, 2013). "Sister's death drives Michelle Lujan Grisham". Politico.Com. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Lee, Morgan (November 7, 2018). "New Mexico elects Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham governor". AP NEWS.
  4. ^ National Journal (November 6, 2012). "New Mexico, 1st House District: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "NEWSMAKER: In New Mexico, it's good to be a Luján - Friday, June 26, 2015". www.eenews.net. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "Michelle Lujan Grisham running for First District seat". New Mexico Independent. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  7. ^ "Michelle Lujan Grisham -". Archives of Women's Political Communication. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  8. ^ Editor, Kent Walz | Journal Senior. "Michelle Lujan Grisham: Energetic and 'all in'". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved November 30, 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  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. ^ "Our Campaigns - Bernalillo County Commissioner 01 Race - Nov 02, 2010".
  12. ^ "NM District 1- D Primary Race – Jun 03, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  13. ^ Las Cruces Sun-News. FINAL RESULTS: June 3 primary election Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine June 20, 2008.
  14. ^ Salazar, Martin (June 29, 2008). "ABQJOURNAL NEWS/METRO: Top UNM official red-faced over Lujan Grisham comments". Abqjournal.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  15. ^ "Third Democrat Vies to Succeed Heinrich in N.M. District : Roll Call Politics". Rollcall.com. August 17, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  16. ^ "Congressional opponents face off in first debate". KOB. September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ Reichbach, Matthew (November 7, 2012). "Lujan Grisham blowout could mean no more swing Congressional districts". New Mexico Telegram. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  19. ^ Ruiz, Regina (November 5, 2014). "Michelle Lujan Grisham re-elected as congresswoman". KOAT-TV. Albuquerque, NM.
  20. ^ "New Mexico U.S. House 1st District Results: Michelle Lujan Grisham Wins". New York Times. New York, NY. December 13, 2016.
  21. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (June 16, 2016). "Lawmakers turned over gifts after secretly funded trip to Azerbaijan". TheHill. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  22. ^ Bernal, Rafael (December 1, 2016). "Hispanic Caucus picks new leadership". The Hill. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "House Session". C-SPAN. December 27, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  24. ^ Boyd, Dan (December 13, 2016). "Lujan Grisham running for governor". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  25. ^ Despite technical difficulties, Lujan Grisham lays out vision for NM after winning race for Governor, KOB, Joshua Panas, November 6, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  26. ^ "Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham promises sweeping change under her leadership". Koat.com. January 1, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  27. ^ Boetel, Ryan. "Governor pitches plan for free college". www.abqjournal.com.
  28. ^ "Cindy McCain Joins Biden-Harris Transition Team's Advisory Board". President-Elect Joe Biden. September 28, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "Biden Transition Organization - Staff, Advisors". www.democracyinaction.us. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  30. ^ "Who Are Contenders for Biden's Cabinet?". The New York Times. November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  31. ^ "Democratic Governors Select Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham As Next DGA Chair". Democratic Governors Association. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  32. ^ Montoya Bryan, Susan (August 25, 2021). "New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge". Associated Press. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  33. ^ "New Mexico Senate upholds dormant ban on abortion". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  34. ^ Buell, Samuel (January 1, 1991). "Criminal Abortion Revisited". New York University Law Review. 66 (6): 1774–1831. PMID 11652642.
  35. ^ Nathanson, Rick (December 5, 2018). "NM abortion law targeted for repeal". www.abqjournal.com.
  36. ^ a b Lee, Morgan (March 14, 2019). "New Mexico State Senate Upholds Dormant Ban on Abortion". U.S. News and World Report.
  37. ^ Ortega, May. "Lujan Grisham Vows To Repeal State Abortion Ban". www.kunm.org.
  38. ^ Grisham, Michelle Lujan. "OPINION | Governor will remove NM's ban on abortions". www.abqjournal.com.
  39. ^ "New Mexico House votes to rescind state abortion ban". Las Cruces Sun-News. February 7, 2019.
  40. ^ Prokop, Danielle (March 15, 2019). "Senate rejects repealing currently unenforceable anti-abortion law". The NM Political Report.
  41. ^ "2021 Regular Session - SB 10". New Mexico Legislature. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  42. ^ Nott, Robert (February 26, 2021). "Governor signs bill repealing New Mexico abortion ban". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  43. ^ Boyd, Dan; Robinson-Avila, Kevin. "Governor signs executive order on climate change". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  44. ^ "New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Joins U.S. Climate Alliance". U.S. Climate Alliance. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  45. ^ Storrow, Benjamin; E; Wednesday, E. News reporterPublished; March 13; 2019. "ENERGY TRANSITIONS: Southwestern U.S.: from laggard to leader on climate". www.eenews.net. Retrieved July 1, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ McKay, Dan (March 16, 2019). "Recreational marijuana will be back in 2020 session". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  47. ^ Boyd, Dan (June 28, 2019). "Gov. Lujan Grisham creates cannabis legalization task force". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  48. ^ Lee, Morgan (March 26, 2021). "Governor calls special legislative session in New Mexico". Associated Press. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  49. ^ Chacón, Daniel J. (April 12, 2021). "New Mexico legalizes recreational cannabis". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  50. ^ Cicilline, David N. (January 15, 2016). "Cosponsors - H.R.4269 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Assault Weapons Ban of 2015". www.congress.gov.
  51. ^ "Dems in Congress pushing for $12 per hour minimum wage | The NM Political Report". nmpoliticalreport.com. May 7, 2015. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  52. ^ "NM House members oppose Obama on Israel vote". Albuquerque Journal. January 7, 2017.
  53. ^ a b Heild, Colleen (December 23, 2007). "ABQjournal Metro: Doctor Says Dropped Suit Hurt Reputation". Abqjournal.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  54. ^ New Mexico Business Weekly. "Former health secretary files wrongful death suit – New Mexico Business Weekly". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  55. ^ McKay, Dan; Boyd, Dan (April 12, 2021). "Gov.'s campaign settles with ex-spokesman". Albuquerque Journal.
  56. ^ Ramirez, Chris (February 17, 2021). "4 Investigates: Review of expenses reveals governor spending most of her discretionary fund on groceries". kob.com. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  57. ^ McKay, Dan (May 27, 2021). "Suit accuses governor of discrimination involving pay". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved June 16, 2021.

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of New Mexico
Most recent
Preceded by Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of New Mexico
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Vice President Order of precedence of the United States
Within New Mexico
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Governor of Oklahoma Order of precedence of the United States
Outside New Mexico
Succeeded byas Governor of Arizona