Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo

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Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo
Octaviano Larrazolo, bw photo portrait, 1919.jpg
United States Senator
from New Mexico
In office
December 7, 1928 – March 3, 1929
Preceded by Bronson M. Cutting
Succeeded by Bronson M. Cutting
4th Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1919 – January 1, 1921
Lieutenant Benjamin F. Pankey
Preceded by Washington Ellsworth Lindsey
Succeeded by Merritt C. Mechem
Personal details
Born (1859-12-07)December 7, 1859
Valle de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died April 7, 1930(1930-04-07) (aged 70)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Political party Republican
Other political
Democratic (until 1911)
Residence Las Vegas
Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholicism

Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo (December 7, 1859 – April 7, 1930) was a Republican politician who served as the fourth Governor of New Mexico and a United States Senator. He was the first Hispanic United States Senator and of Mexican-American heritage.

Early life[edit]

Larrazolo was born in Valle de Allende in Chihuahua, Mexico, on December 7, 1859. A devoutly religious man, he moved to Tucson, Arizona Territory, in 1870 to study under the bishop of Arizona. He studied theology at the St. Michael's College at Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, in 1875 and 1876. Larrazolo returned to Tucson to teach in public schools briefly, and then moved to El Paso County, Texas to teach there.


He was appointed clerk of the district court at El Paso, and then clerk of the United States District and Circuit Courts for the Western District of Texas at El Paso. Larrazolo was admitted to the bar in 1888. He was elected district attorney for the Western District of Texas in 1890, and reelected in 1892. He held the position until 1894.

Larrazolo moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, in 1895 and resumed the practice of law. He ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for Delegate to United States Congress from the New Mexico Territory in 1890, 1900, and 1908.

In 1911, Larrazolo changed his political affiliations to Republican after the State Convention of the Democratic Party denied his request that half of all statewide nominees be Hispanic to represent the 60 percent of the population of New Mexico that was Hispanic. He was elected Governor of the State of New Mexico in 1918, becoming the second Hispanic to serve in this role since the territory became a state in 1912. The campaign in 1918, though, was an intense one that exposed some fractions within the Hispanic community. His Democratic opponent, Félix García, claimed that Larrazolo's birth in Chihuahua precluded him from understanding the concerns of “native New Mexicans.” Larrazolo’s narrow victory, however, seemed to quiet most of the debate about whether he could authentically advocate on behalf of the Spanish-speaking population.[1]

During Larrazolo's governorship, tax reform measures were sanctioned and a state board of health was established. Improvements were also initiated to assist New Mexico's Latino population. Larrazolo advocated for bilingual education and supported the civil rights of Mexican immigrants in the state.[2] He was also a supporter of the women's suffrage amendment to the United States constitution.[3]

After serving two years as Governor, Larrazolo was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1927 and 1928. After Senator Andrieus A. Jones died in 1928, Larrazolo ran for the remaining six months of the term. He won, and became the first Hispanic elected to the United States Senate. Larrazolo did not seek reelection due to illness.

Later years[edit]

Larrazolo died on April 7, 1930, and is interred in Santa Barbara Cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


  1. ^ John Chávez, The Lost Land: The Chicano Image of the Southwest, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984), pp. 102-103.
  2. ^ María Rosa García-Acevedo, "The Forgotten Diaspora: Mexican Immigration to New Mexico," in The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico, ed. Erlinda Gonzalez-Berry and David R. Maciel, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), pp. 222-223.
  3. ^ "Octaviano Larrazolo," Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995, http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/congress/larrazolo.html

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Washington E. Lindsey
Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Merritt C. Mechem
United States Senate
Preceded by
Bronson M. Cutting
United States Senator from New Mexico
Succeeded by
Bronson M. Cutting