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Ben Luján

“The New Mexico I see in the future is a cleaner, healthier place, with water running through our acequias, our precious natural resources intact, and resources, health care, jobs and infrastructure more readily available to our least-served residents. The America I see does not rely on foreign energy to run our cars and our lives or start our wars.”
Ben R. Luján is seeking election to the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Udall. Ben serves as a New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner with oversight over public utilities, insurance and corporations. He has developed a reputation as a strong consumer advocate who is willing to stand up to powerful special interests and put the people of New Mexico first.

During the past three years as Chairman of the PRC, Ben has worked tirelessly to safeguard the public’s interest and to protect our environment. He has challenged regulated industries to improve their services to New Mexico consumers and has worked hard to compel utility companies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and focus research and development efforts on renewable and sustainable energy production.

Ben is dedicated to fighting for a greener future and believes that global warming is inextricably linked to our greatest national security threat since the cold war: our nation’s dependence on foreign energy. Under his leadership, the PRC implemented one of the highest standards in the nation for New Mexico utilities’ renewable-energy requirements. When the Bush Administration refused to take action on global warming, Ben joined public officials in California, Oregon and Washington to sign the Joint Action on Climate Change, which addressed global warming regionally.

In addition, he has fought for improved health insurance coverage for New Mexico consumers, by investigating the health insurance industry’s denial practices and spearheading legislation that expands access to insurance and stops unfair tactics the industry had been using to deny medical claims and void policies. Ben will take to Congress his experience on energy and consumer protection issues and his fierce determination to stand up to powerful interests to do what is right for New Mexico and America.

Born in Nambé, New Mexico, a historic farming community north of Santa Fe that is bordered by the pueblos of Nambé and Pojoaque, Ben grew up learning the time-honored traditions and respected values of rural New Mexico. He was raised in a working-class family by his parents, Ben Luján Sr., a union ironworker, and Carmen Luján, a public school employee. Public service is the hallmark of the Luján family as Ben Sr. set the example for his son by serving on the Santa Fe County Commission and then rising to become Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Ben is determined to be a voice for people who too often are ignored. He has a long-standing working relationship with tribal leaders and Native Americans in northern New Mexico and will respect tribal sovereignty because he understands the important role of tribal and pueblo governments. As Congressman, Ben will fight to reverse the trend of President Bush’s budget cuts to the Indian Health Service and Indian Education programs.

Ben is a critic of the Iraq war and will work with the Democratic majority in Congress to bring our troops home quickly and safely. He will also insist that the needs of our nation’s veterans become a top priority. Ben believes that our returning troops deserve mandatory mental-health screening and a program to better monitor their mental and physical health. Furthermore, he will introduce legislation to allow local and rural clinics to provide health care services and be reimbursed by the Veterans Administration so that our veterans don’t have to travel hundreds of miles for needed care. 21st Century Democrats proudly endorses this native New Mexican, consumer advocate, and renewable energy leader who will continue to battle for working families.

Race Backdrop
The six-candidate Primary of June 3rd will likely determine the next Congressman in this Democratic leaning seat that Tom Udall is vacating to run for U.S. Senate. Luján’s district on the NM Public Regulation Commission encompasses 11 counties within the Third Congressional District. He faces a self-funding multi-millionaire candidate who originally filed to run for the Senate seat, but Luján has garnered the support of organized labor and key environmental organizations.

Race Facts

Race Type: Open Seat (Currently Democratic)
Primary Opponent(s): Jon Adams, Rudy Martin, Harry Montoya, Bennie Shendo and Don Wiviott
Primary Date: June 3, 2008
Primary Result: Won Primary
General Opponent(s): Dan East (GOP), Carol Miller (Ind)
General Election Date: November 4, 2008
General Election Result: Won, 56.6% – 30.7%


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