New Mexico Voters Make History By Electing All Women Of Color To Congress
In a significant first in American history, New Mexico elected all women of color to the House, including a mom of three, a single mother, and a small business owner. As The Hill reported, these election results in New Mexico mark the first time a state has voted all women of color to its House delegation.
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland, a Native American and member of New Mexico's Laguna Pueblo tribe, was re-elected to her Congressional seat on Tuesday to represent District 1 of New Mexico. She will be joined by Republican Yvette Herrell, a citizen of Cherokee Nation, who will represent New Mexico's District 2, and Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Latina attorney, representing District 3.
With Leger Fernandez's win, she becomes the first woman elected to represent her district in the House, according to the Farmington Daily-Times. Leger Fernandez ran on a platform promising voters she would fight for Medicare for All, access to reproductive health care, and humane immigration reform.
"The people of New Mexico have chosen to protect what we love — our democracy, our planet, our families and communities, our healthcare, and our future," Leger Fernandez, a mom to three sons and an attorney, said in a statement on Twitter. "With this victory, I promise you I will take the courageous action that this historic moment demands. Muchísimas gracias!"
Haaland made history in 2018 when she became one of the first of two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018, according to Reuters. The congresswoman, who is also a single mother, wore traditional garments to her swearing in ceremony in 2019, as TODAY reported at the time. Throughout her time in office, Haaland has advocated for Native Americans as well as the safety of children and families through her support for universal childcare and the PPE for Safe Schools act during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Tonight the people of New Mexico have chosen hope over fear, love over hate, community over division, and I am so honored that New Mexicans have chosen me to serve in our nation's 117th Congress," she wrote in a statement on Twitter. "Tonight I will recommit to fighting for legislation that will guide our nation forward in the areas of climate change, education, racial equality, health care, and economic justice."
Herrell is a conservative small business owner who has served four terms in the New Mexico state house. She told the Albuquerque Journal that she wants to "continue working with the people of New Mexico, so we can carry a voice to Congress that will accurately represent our values, our culture, and protect the future of the state." Herrell has been "a staunch ally" of President Donald Trump, according to The New York Times, and is pro-second amendment. She also supports Trump's efforts to build a wall along the border, according to Albuquerque Journal.
"My commitment to each citizen of our district is that I will serve each of them with integrity as we work together to rebuild our economy and protect the values that make America great!" Herrell said in a statement on Twitter.
With these wins, New Mexico has become the first state with the largest House delegation comprised of women of color, according to the Associated Press. Reflecting on her win, Leger Fernandez said during her victory speech on Tuesday that she's eager to take her work on issues like health care and the environment to the "national level, to be able to protect what we love, and help it thrive."