Ben Ray Luján

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Ben Lujan


Ben Ray Lujan is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 3rd district of New Mexico.

Background

Born and raised in New Mexico, Rep. Ben Ray Luján grew up in Nambe, a small farming community north of Santa Fe bordered by the pueblos of Nambe and Pojoaque. There he learned the time-honored traditions and values of New Mexico.[1]

His father is the speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives and his mother is a retired administrator with the Pojoaque Valley school system. He has Lujan family members on both sides of his family and is a distant cousin on his mother's side to Manuel Lujan, Jr., former Republican congressman and Secretary of the Interior. Manuel Lujan's sister was his second grade teacher.[2]

Education

Rep. Luján earned his Bachelor's degree from New Mexico Highlands University in Business Administration.[3]

Career

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Luján served as the Chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. As a Commissioner, Rep. Luján worked with his colleagues to develop a renewable portfolio standard to increase renewable energy production by New Mexico utilities to 20 percent of their total production by 2020 and to diversify utilities’ renewable portfolios to include solar energy. On behalf of the state of New Mexico, Rep. Luján joined his fellow Commissioners from California, Oregon, and Washington to sign onto the Joint Action Framework on Climate Change to create regional solutions to climate change.

With the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Rep. Luján advocated for first responders. He worked with firefighters, the state legislature, and other officials to overhaul the New Mexico Fire Fund so that all distributions from the fund would go to improving fire services in New Mexico.

Rep. Luján also worked to improve health care as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission by investigating the denial practices of the health insurance industry. The investigation led to the development of legislation that expanded access to insurance and closed loopholes the industry had been using to unfairly deny medical claims and void policies. Prior to that, he served as New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department’s director of administrative services and chief financial officer.[4]

U.S. House of Representatives

Lujan has been a strong proponent of health care reform, including a public option. In October 2009, Lujan gave a speech on the House floor calling for a public option to be included in the House health care bill saying “We need a public option - we must demand a public option.”[5]

In June 2009, Lujan voted for an amendment that would require the Secretary of Defense to present a plan including a complete exit strategy for Afghanistan by the end of the year; although, the amendment did not pass. In September 2009 Lujan wrote a letter urging the Obama administration not to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. Lujan drew on conversations he had with U.S. General Stanley McChrystal and Afghan president Hamid Karzai, when he visited Afghanistan in August 2009, in the letter. [6]

Lujan district contains 15 separate pueblo tribes as well as tribal lands of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation. In February 2009 Lujan 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) Lujan sponsored an amendment to the House health care bill that would extend the current Indian Health Care system until 2025. [7]

Committees

As a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, Rep. Luján is working to combat climate change and make New Mexico a leader in renewable energy through investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. Rep. Luján is also on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, where he focuses on investment in programs that promote environmental sustainability.

As a member of the Committee on Natural Resources and the Water and Power Subcommittee, Rep. Luján works to preserve land, water, and resources for future generations. He also continues to build on his efforts to improve services for Indian Country as a member of the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee.[8]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Ben Lujan was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[9]

Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Rep. Luján is also the 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. His work in Congress to ensure that the Hispanic community is included in the emerging clean energy economy earned him the recognition of one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics.[10]

Populist Caucus

The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Ben Ray Luján.

Blue Green Alliance

The Blue Green Alliance sponsors the annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference. The 2010 conference was held from May. 4-6, 2010.

Conference speakers included:[11]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[12]

Lujan was one of 17 key progressives endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2010 election cycle. [13]

Lujan was also supported in 2008.Ben Ray Lujan was one of 12 progressives endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2016 election cycle.[14]

Speaking with Huerta

April 2, 2011, the 18th Annual César Chávez Day March and Festival was held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. There was a large turnout of people from all walks of life and a diversity of ethnic backgrounds who are all bound by at least one thing -- a dedication to honoring the heroic labor and civil rights organizer and leader, and keeping his nonviolent activist mission alive in a new era of attacks on working people, minorities and collective bargaining itself.

After the march, participants gathered to celebrate the historic legacy of César Chávez with food, dancing, entertainment and more at the NHCC's Plaza de Major, Also addressing the crowed were a variety of speakers including Dolores Huerta, who was introduced by Rep. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and City Councilor Rey Garduno.[15]

NMARA event

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New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans leaders welcome Leader Nancy Pelosi to Santa Fe, at the ME Gonzales Senior Center, at the invitation of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. — with Sally Gallosa, Nancy Pelosi, David Coss and Sylviana Diaz-D'Ouville.

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Ben Ray Luján in 2014,also in 2012.[16]

Fred Ross award campaign

In early 2013, mainly Democratic Socialists of America aligned activists, together with many elected officials across the United States came together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross, Sr.. The Saul Alinsky trained radical was the first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and DSAer Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter outreach since 1949 when he helped elect Communist Party USA affiliate Ed Roybal as Los Angeles’s first Latino council member, "Ross’ influence on social change movements remains strong two decades after his death in 1992".

Congressional endorsers of the proposal included Ben Ray Lujan.[17]

Ben Ray Luján Welcomes PDACNM

Thursday, Oct 31, 2013, at the invitation of Representative Ben Ray Luján’s staff, several members of Progressive Democrats of America Central New Mexico, met with the Congressman who was dedicating two hours of his recess time to meet with constituents.

We were told we had five minutes, but the Congressman spent about an hour with us. We handed him a list of PDA priorities that we have been including in the letters we deliver at the letter drops every month. However, Rep. Luján was ahead of us. He had a list already in front of him of several of PDA’s issues and he was prepared to respond to them.
Rep. Luján is very accessible and responsive to his constituents. His knowledge of the issues is thorough and he articulates the issues well. His easy personality and respect for and attentiveness to us is refreshing and encouraging. We feel fortunate to have such a person representing District 3 in NM. And we will continue to visit his office and deliver our messages which further the progressive agenda.[18]

Robin Hood Tax Event

There was a special Progressive Democrats of America, Robin Hood Tax Event in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fri, Apr 04, 2014, at the Office of Rep. Ben Ray Lujan 811 St. Michael's Drive Suite 104 Santa Fe, NM.[19]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Paul Stokes, was assigned as contact for Rep. Lujan.[20]

JStreet 2014 endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Ben Ray Luján in his 2014 Congressional race. [21]

JStreet endorsed him again in 2016.

. Lujan deeply appreciates the US-Israel alliance and strongly supports a bold leadership on the part of the US to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.[22]

Progressive support

November 2014 New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan was tapped to serve as the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced.

Luján, who was 42 years old and completing his third term in the House, would succeed New York Rep. Steve Israel, who was departing the committee after two cycles. Influential liberals, including union leaders and wealthy donors, reacted with a mix of surprise and mild approval to the Luján pick, which came after many of them had quietly mounted a campaign to pressure Pelosi to select Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, a favorite of the party’s progressive wing.

Luján, a leader in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is the son of the late Ben Lujan,, a onetime speaker in the New Mexico state House of Representatives. Prior to winning a seat in the House in 2008, Luján was a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Luján has a “bold vision and determined leadership to deliver wins in difficult districts,” Pelosi said.

Before making her announcement, Pelosi was believed to have been considering several other members for the post, including Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, and Edwards. Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was also seen as a possible pick.

About 20 members of the Democracy Alliance club of rich liberal donors, which met this past week in Washington, had sent a letter Sunday to Pelosi urging her to consider Edwards, suggesting she has the necessary “strong progressive values.”

The signees included Boston billionaire investor Vin Ryan, Florida entrepreneur Chris Findlater and husband-and-wife San Francisco mega-donors Susan Sandler and Steve Phillips.

After Luján’s selection, PCCC co-founder Adam Green praised Pelosi for “rejecting the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party” and said the group hoped to partner with Luján in “recruiting economic populist candidates.”

Phillips , the mega-donor from San Francisco, also signaled his approval, telling POLITICO that the pick would help Democrats with young voters and Latinos, especially in the Southwest. “That’s the future of the party,” he said.[23]

Democratic Party leaders 2015

  • Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Chairman
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Democratic Congressional Committee Chair
  • Sen. Jon Tester, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair
  • Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic Governors Association Chair[24]

"Closed door meetings"

Aimee Allison wrote February 6 2015.[25]

This week, PowerPAC+ Chair Steve Phillips is in Washington D.C. working with the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Congressman G.K. Butterfield, the new chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Together we are crafting some exciting plans to address party diversity issues in 2015. Our aim is a party that effectively engages communities of color and wins elections. No more losses like in 2014.

From Politico.[26]

The party has broad room for growth. PowerPAC+, a Democratic group, released a report this year that found that less than 2 percent of the money the Democratic Party spent during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles went to firms owned by minorities — just $8.7 million of $514 million spent. The report examined expenditures from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee...
Black lawmakers raised the issue of minority contractors with DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján on Wednesday during a closed-door meeting, and it is expected to be a topic during a Congressional Black Caucus members-only meeting Thursday with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
More than a dozen lawmakers and political consultants interviewed said they’ve seen a noticeable difference at the DCCC since Luján was tapped to lead the House-focused campaign committee. The New Mexico Democrat railed against the lack of Latino consultants when he was in the rank and file.
The DCCC hasn’t yet inked new contracts with 2016 vendors, but Luján told lawmakers during a private meeting in Philadelphia last week that increasing the number of minority-owned firms with contracts at the committee would be a top priority ahead of the next election. There are plans to model a program off the DNC’s 2012 national political convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, which made minority contracting a high priority.
“Just beginning the second month of my first quarter here and I’m proud of the diverse staff we’re building this cycle,” Luján said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my Democratic colleagues and our allies to put the majority in play in 2016 and do it with a team that truly represents the electorate...”
The contracting issue has been a thorn between the campaign committees and minority lawmakers for decades. Last May, Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), then the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she had been urging the DCCC to improve its contracting numbers but met with resistance.
“We’ve met and repeatedly requested the DCCC’s diversity goals in writing and have yet to receive them. It is clear to me they have no desire to address this issue,” Fudge said at the time.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the current chairman of the CBC, praised Luján’s “vision of having a diverse DCCC.” The North Carolina Democrat added that the DCCC will build a database of minority vendors using data that the party had used in Charlotte.

Democracy Alliance Fall 2017

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Staff

The following are past and present staff:[27]

External links

References

  1. official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  2. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp111&sid=cp111vh5d2&refer=&r_n=hr102.111&item=&&&sel=TOC_128607& Prepared Statement of Representative Ben R. Lujan
  3. official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  4. official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  5. http://votesmart.org/candidate/public-statements/102842/ben-lujan-jr Lujan: We Must Demand A Public Option
  6. http://votesmart.org/public-statements/ Rep. Lujan Urges Administration To Reject Troop Increase In Afghanistan
  7. http://lujan.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=372&Itemid=55 Website of Congressman Ben Jay Lujan
  8. official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  9. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  10. official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  11. Green Jobs Conference website: 2010 Speakers (accessed on Jan. 28, 2011)
  12. 21st Century Democrats website, About us]
  13. 21st Century Democrats 2012 bio
  14. [1]
  15. Democracy New Mexico, Photos and Videos: César Chávez March and Festival in Albuquerque with Dolores Huerta -April 4, 2011
  16. PAF
  17. Momentum Builds for Honoring Legendary Organizer Fred Ross, by Randy Shaw, 2013-03-05
  18. Progressive Democrats of Central New Mexico, Representative Ben Ray Luján Welcomes PDACNM Posted on November 4, 2013
  19. PDA, RHT NM02 Rep. Ben Ray Lujan
  20. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  21. J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
  22. JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
  23. Politico, Luján, of New Mexico, to chair DCCC By LAUREN FRENCH , ALEX ISENSTADT and KENNETH P. VOGEL 11/17/2014
  24. DNC officers 2015
  25. PowerPAC+Top Democratic Leadership Responds to PowerPAC+ Diversity Push Posted by Aimee Allison on February 06, 2015
  26. [https://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/democrats-diversity-minority-consultants-114934, Polotico,Minority groups: Dems still falling short in consultants' diversity Campaign arms like the DNC and DCCC ‘can’t just keep hiring friends over and over again,’ some Democrats say. By LAUREN FRENCH and ANNA PALMER 02/05/2015 ]
  27. http://www.legistorm.com/member/967/Rep_Ben_Ray_Luj_n.html Accessed 05/21/2011