Ben Ray Luján

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Ben Lujan

Template:TOCnestleft 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.

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.[14]

Staff

The following are past and present staff:[15]

External links

References

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