Teresa Leger Fernandez

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Teresa Leger Fernandez

Template:TOCnestleft Teresa Leger Fernandez founded Leger Law & Strategy, a social justice firm focused on impact litigation, financing, economic development and the public interest. For the last 25 years she has served as General Counsel to several Native American Tribes and their business enterprises. Her work ranges from voting rights litigation to protecting sacred sites to negotiating multi-million dollar leases; it includes the strategic development of the legal, legislative, business, economic and physical infrastructure for tribal sovereigns. After President Clinton appointed her as a White House Fellow; she worked on public/private financing of affordable housing and other community development initiatives as a White House liaison at HUD. She has served as both issuer’s and borrower’s counsel for loan and bond projects ranging from resorts to schools to basic infrastructure. President Obama recently appointed her to the President’s Advisory Council for Historic Preservation. She started her academic career in the first Headstart class in New Mexico, went on to graduate from Yale and receive her J.D., with distinction, from Stanford Law School.[1]

Her parents helped institute the state’s early bilingual education programs.


Stanford University Law School 1984 – 1987.


Activities and Societies: Co-Chairperson, East Palo Alto Law Community Law Center

The East Palo Alto Community Law Center was a student founded student run law clinic that was eventually incorporated into the Stanford Law School. I was the co-chair of the Board and the student organization, and also helped found the Immigration component to the Center.

The University of Texas at Austin

Economic Development - and Planning 1983 – 1984

Yale University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Latin American Studies 1978 – 1982

Activities and Societies: MEChA - the Hispanic/Chicano student organization; Senior Society - Elihu; Bildner Prize for Research and Writing on Latin America.

Student leader in MEChA, and organized the first all-ivy chicano conference, headed up MEChA's speaker series, which brought Cesar Chavez, Rudolfo Anaya, MALDEF General Counsel, etc. to speak to Yale students.[2]

Humanitarian Needs in Cuba letter

December 16 2021 , House Rules Committee Chair James McGovern (D-MA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks (D-NY), House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA), and House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy Chair Bobby Rush (D-IL) led 114 Members of Congress in a letter to President Biden asking him to prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people as they experience the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in recent history...

In the wake of this year’s protests, the members urged the administration to support the Cuban people by suspending U.S. regulations that prevent food, medicine, remittances, and other humanitarian assistance from reaching the Cuban people...

Signatories included Teresa Leger Fernandez.[3]

Chavez connection

While in MEChA Teresa Leger Fernandez brought Cesar Chavez to Yale.


One of Teresa Leger Fernandez's favorite memories as a student, she recalled, is the memory of riding her bicycle early in the morning with some atole, a traditional cornmeal breakfast drink popular in New Mexico, on her way to the basement of the East Palo Alto Community Law Project’s building. In 1986, Stanford Lawyer Magazine described the East Palo Alto Community Law Project as “something remarkable.” At that point, a third of the student body in the Stanford Law School had gotten involved in activities ranging from pro se clinics and community education programs to project administration and fundraising. “The East Palo Alto Law Project proved to me that it is possible to create opportunities in a place of poverty,” Leger Fernandez said. “I also took graduate classes at Stanford and spent a semester in Peru, studying how a law project for women didn’t limit itself to just addressing legal issues, but addressed all the interrelated problems and needs facing women in poor communities.”[4]

CPC Special Order Hour Conveners

2021 Congressional Progressive Caucus Special Order Hour Conveners: Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Congresswoman-elect Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03).

PDA endorsement

In 2020 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed Teresa Leger Fernandez's congressional run.[5]

AOC support


In February 2020 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched her own political action committee to boost challengers in 2020 congressional races.

The move shows the 30-year-old New York freshman's intentions to continue battling with her party's establishment.

Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the website for her group — dubbed "Courage to Change PAC" — along with a slate of seven endorsements for female candidates who in some cases are competing against other Democrats backed by party campaign committees.

Her new group's mission statement says it "seeks to reward challengers and incumbents who display political courage — people who refuse to bow to establishment pressure, who advocate ferociously for working-class families, and who have lived the same struggles as the people they seek to represent."

Ocasio-Cortez touted House and Senate candidates who haven't served in Congress before; five are women of color.

Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, who is running for Senate in Texas, is competing against MJ Hegar, a combat veteran who is backed by the Senate Democrats' campaign arm.

The others — Jessica Cisneros of Texas, Georgette Gomez of California, Samelys Lopez of New York, Kara Eastman of Nebraska, Marie Newman of Illinois and Teresa Leger Fernandez of New Mexico — are running in House races.

Two are running against current House Democratic incumbents — Cisneros is attempting to beat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a moderate eight-term member who stresses his appeal to independents and Republicans. Newman is running for the second time against Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski, also serving his eighth term, who some liberals have criticized for his anti-abortion rights voting record.[6]

Radical fundraiser


Marla Painter and Mark Rudd, Ann Barudin and Ted Barudin, Mary Ellen Capek and Sue Hallgarth, Paul Cohen, Felice Garcia and Tom Jameson, Eric Griego, Neri Holguin, Nicholas Leger and Corine Leger, Alan Marks and Josie Lopez, Ted Martinez, Kay Monaco and Dick Winterbottom, David Rubin and Anna Rutins, David Sanchez and Family, Veronica Sanchez, Victoria Sanchez, Paul Stokes and Laura Stokes

Mark Rudd wrote a personal note to potential fundraiser attendees about his friend Teresa Leger Fernandez:

Many of us here in Bernalillo County don’t watch what’s happening in the northern congressional district, CD 3. It’s an open seat due to Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s running for the Senate. By far the best candidate of a crowded and confusing field is our dear friend Teresa Leger Fernandez. Marla and I have known and loved Teresa for years as a member of the Sanchez Family headed by Doña Petra Sanchez here in Albuquerque.
Teresa has never run for office before, but over the course of her distinguished career as an attorney and as a volunteer she has worked tirelessly on behalf of native tribes, hispanic communities, women, the environment, and all those who are not privileged . She’s a daughter of New Mexico, having grown up in Las Vegas, NM, in a family of educators and political reformers. Teresa has service to New Mexicans in her blood. [7]