Michelle Lujan Grisham
|32nd Governor of New Mexico|
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Susana Martinez|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Mexico's 1st district
January 3, 2013 – January 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Martin Heinrich|
|Succeeded by||Deb Haaland|
|Secretary of Health of New Mexico|
August 2004 – June 2007
|Preceded by||Patricia Montoya|
|Succeeded by||Alfredo Vigil|
Michelle Lynn Lujan
October 24, 1959
Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.
(m. 1982; died 2004)
|Education||University of New Mexico (BA, JD)|
Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham (/ /; born October 24, 1959) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 32nd governor of New Mexico since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, Lujan Grisham previously served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 1st congressional district from 2013 to 2019.
Lujan Grisham served as Secretary of Health of New Mexico from 2004 to 2007 and as Bernalillo County Commissioner from 2010 to 2012. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, defeating Janice Arnold-Jones. In 2016, Lujan Grisham was selected as the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She won the Democratic nomination for governor of New Mexico in 2018 and defeated Republican Steve Pearce on November 6, 2018.
Early life and education
Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe. Her father, Llewellyn "Buddy" Lujan, practiced dentistry into his 80s until he died in March 2011. Her mother, Sonja, was a homemaker. Michelle's sister Kimberly was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of two and died at 21.
Lujan Grisham says that her ancestors have inhabited New Mexico for 12 generations. She is part of the prominent Lujan political family in New Mexico, many of whose members have served in elected and appointed positions in government.
Lujan graduated from St. Michael's High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts in university studies from the University of New Mexico in 1981, where she was a work study student in the engineering department and a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. In 1982, she married Gregory Alan Grisham. She also worked as a technical writing intern for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. In 1987, Lujan Grisham earned a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Early political career
Lujan Grisham served as director of the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department under Bruce King, Gary Johnson, and Bill Richardson. During Richardson's tenure, the position was elevated to the state cabinet level. In 2004, he named Lujan Grisham as New Mexico Secretary of Health and she served in the position until 2007.
U.S. House of Representatives
Lujan Grisham resigned as Secretary of Health in order to run for the United States House of Representatives in the 2008 elections, losing in the Democratic primary to Martin Heinrich, who won with 44% of the vote. New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron ranked second with 25% and Michelle Lujan-Grisham ranked third with 24%.
Lujan Grisham sought the Democratic nomination for the House again in 2012 after Heinrich decided to run for the United States Senate. She won the nomination, defeating Marty Chavez and Eric Griego. She defeated Janice Arnold-Jones, a former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, in the November general election, 59%–41%.
Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Mike Frese in the 2014 elections, 59% to 41%.
In 2016, Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Richard Priem, receiving 179,380 votes (65.1%) to Priem's 96,061 (34.9%).
Lujan Grisham was sworn in as a member of Congress on January 3, 2013. In 2016, she was one of nine members of Congress who took a trip to Baku that was later found to have been secretly funded by the government of Azerbaijan; she had to turn over gifts the country gave her to the House Clerk after an ethics investigation. Both the Office of Congressional Ethics and House Ethics Committee found lawmakers and aides had no way of knowing the trip was being funded improperly.
Lujan Grisham resigned her House seat as of December 31, 2018 to assume the governorship of New Mexico the following day.
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on the Budget
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus (Chair)
- Congressional Native American Caucus
- Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
Governor of New Mexico
On December 13, 2016, one week after Tom Udall announced he would not run for governor of New Mexico, Lujan Grisham became the first person to announce her candidacy to succeed Susana Martinez, who was prohibited from running because of term limits. On June 5, 2018, she won the Democratic primary to become the party's nominee. On November 6, she was elected governor, defeating the Republican nominee, U.S. Representative Steve Pearce, with 56.9% of the vote.
On September 5, 2020, Lujan Grisham was named a co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which is planning Joe Biden's presidential transition. In November, Lujan Grisham was named a candidate for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration. On December 3, 2020, she was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association for 2021, having served as vice chair in 2020.
In 1969, the New Mexico Legislature passed a law that made it a felony for someone to provide a woman with an abortion unless it was needed to save a woman's life, or because her pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1973's Roe v. Wade barred states from regulating abortion in the first trimester; consequently, New Mexico's 1969 abortion law became unenforceable. In her 2019 State of the State address, Lujan Grisham stated her support for a repeal of the 1969 law; she said, "'The old criminal abortion law of this state, only one of nine left in the entire country, must go. Bring me that bill and I will sign it'". Lujan Grisham published an op-ed in support of repeal on March 3, 2019. Repeal legislation passed the New Mexico House of Representatives; however, that legislation was defeated in the Democratic-led State Senate on March 14, 2019 by a vote of 24–18. Following the Senate vote, Lujan Grisham said, "'This old, outdated statute criminalizing health care providers is an embarrassment. That removing it was even a debate, much less a difficult vote for some senators, is inexplicable to me'".
In 2021, the New Mexico legislature passed SB10, a repeal of the 1969 abortion law. The bill was approved in the House by a 40–30 margin and in the Senate by a 25–17 margin. Governor Lujan Grisham signed it into law on February 26, 2021.
On January 29, 2019, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order calling for New Mexico to join the United States Climate Alliance and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. This executive order also called for the state to develop comprehensive regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and for state agencies to work with the legislature to increase the state's renewable portfolio standard.
In March 2019, Lujan Grisham signed New Mexico's Energy Transition Act. The legislation transitions the state's electricity sector away from coal and natural gas and toward a renewable economy, requiring New Mexico's electricity to be 50% renewable by 2030 and 100% from zero-carbon sources by 2045. She called the legislation "a promise to future generations of New Mexicans."
In 2019, after a bill to legalize recreational marijuana passed the New Mexico House but not the Senate, Lujan Grisham announced that she would add the issue to the legislative agenda for the upcoming year. She also announced the formation of a working group to determine the best path forward for legalization during the 2020 session. In 2021, after the legislature failed to legalize cannabis during the regular session, Lujan Grisham called a special session so that lawmakers could pass a legalization bill. She signed the bill into law on April 12, 2021.
Lujan Grisham was a co-sponsor of the 2015 Assault Weapon Ban H. R. 4269 Bill that was introduced on December 12, 2015.
In 2015, Lujan Grisham co-sponsored legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $12/hour.
Lujan Grisham's husband, Gregory, died of a brain aneurysm in 2004. The couple had two daughters. Lujan Grisham filed a wrongful death suit against her husband's physician, but the lawsuit was dropped.
Sexual harassment and controversies
From November 2020 to March 2021 Lujan Grisham's gubernatorial campaign made five monthly payments of $12,500 each (totaling $62,500) to settle a sexual harassment complaint made by her former campaign spokesperson, James Hallinan. Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of pouring a bottle of water on his crotch and then grabbing his crotch through his clothes while she laughed. The incident allegedly occurred in the presence of other campaign staffers. The campaign denied the accusations.
In February 2021, an investigative team from KOB (TV) found reports of more than $6,500 worth of groceries bought from the governor’s contingency fund to the governor's residence. “According to receipts made public through an Inspection of Public Records Act request, the items include anything from laundry detergent to Wagyu beef, tuna steaks, top sirloin and hundreds of dollars in alcohol purchases.”
In May 2021, Lujan Grisham and 12 others were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the former executive director of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, alleging that she was not compensated at the same rate as her male counterparts.
- List of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States Congress
- Women in the United States House of Representatives
- MichelleLujanGrisham. "Happy Father's Day, New Mexico! Not a day goes by that I don't miss my dad Llewellyn "Buddy" Lujan. I learned about helping others by watching him work -- everyone was welcome in his chair. I hope everyone enjoys some quality time with their loved ones today! #nmpol". Twitter.
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- "Our Campaigns - Bernalillo County Commissioner 01 Race - Nov 02, 2010".
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- "Cindy McCain Joins Biden-Harris Transition Team's Advisory Board". President-Elect Joe Biden. September 28, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
- "Biden Transition Organization - Staff, Advisors". www.democracyinaction.us. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
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- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN