Ben Ray Luján
|Assistant Speaker of the United States House of Representatives|
January 3, 2019
|Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee|
January 3, 2015 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Mexico's 3rd district
January 3, 2009
|Member of the |
New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
from the 3rd district
January 3, 2005 - January 3, 2009
|Jerome D. Block|
|Jerome Block Jr.|
|Born||June 7, 1972|
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
|Relatives||Ben Luján (Father)|
|Education||New Mexico Highlands University (BBA)|
Ben Ray Luján (; born June 7, 1972) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 3rd congressional district since 2009 and Assistant House Democratic Leader (what the party leadership calls "Assistant Speaker") since 2019. He served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008, where he also served as Chairman.
Luján's district is based in Santa Fe, the state capital, and includes most of the northern portion of the state. In Congress, Luján was selected as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2014 and led the Democrats to win a House majority in the 2018 elections. He was the first Hispanic to serve in this role. In his role as the Assistant House Democratic Leader, Luján is the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.
Ben Ray Luján was born in Nambé, New Mexico, as the last child of Carmen and Ben Luján, and has two older sisters and an older brother. His father, Ben Luján, went into politics in 1970 when he was elected to the County Commission. From 1975, he was as a longtime member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, serving as Majority Whip and Speaker of the House. His mother is a retired administrator with the Pojoaque Valley School System.
After graduating from Pojoaque Valley High School, he worked as a blackjack dealer at a Lake Tahoe casino and a Northern New Mexico tribal casino. After his stint as a dealer, he attended the University of New Mexico and later received a BBA degree from New Mexico Highlands University. Luján has held several public service positions. He was the Deputy State Treasurer and the Director of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer for the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department prior to his election to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
Luján was elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in November 2004. He represented PRC district 3 which encompasses northeastern, north central and central New Mexico. His served as chairman of the PRC in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His term on the PRC ended at the end of 2008. He helped to increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard in New Mexico that requires utilities to use 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Luján also required utilities to diversify their renewable use to include solar, wind and biomass.
In 2008, Luján ran to succeed U.S. Representative Tom Udall in New Mexico's 3rd congressional district. Udall gave up the seat to make what would be a successful bid for the United States Congress. On June 3, 2008, Luján won the Democratic primary, defeating five other candidates. His closest competitor, developer Don Wiviott, received 26 percent to Luján's 42 percent.
Luján faced Republican Dan East and independent Carol Miller in the general election and won with 57% of the vote to East's 30% and Miller's 13%.
Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Thomas E. Mullins with 56.99% of the vote.
Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Jefferson Byrd with 63.12% of the vote.
Luján won reelection against Byrd again, with 61.52% of the vote.
Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Michael H. Romero with 62.42% of the vote.
Luján won reelection against Republican nominee Jerald Steve McFall with 63.4% of the vote.
Luján has been a proponent of health care reform, including a public option. In October 2009, he gave a speech on the House floor calling for a public option to be included in the House health care bill.
In June 2009, Luján voted for an amendment that would require the United States Secretary of Defense to present a plan including a complete exit strategy for Afghanistan by the end of the year. The amendment did not pass. In September 2009, Luján wrote a letter urging the Obama administration not to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. In his letter, he drew on conversations he had with General Stanley A. McChrystal and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
According to his campaign website, Luján has been active in environmental regulation.[better source needed] He chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Green Economy and Renewable Energy Task Force. Luján has initiated several pieces of legislation regarding renewable energy such as the SOLAR Act. He co-authored the Community College Energy Training Act of 2009. He also supports natural gas usage and the New Alternative Transportations to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009. Luján has high ratings from interest groups such as Environment America and the Sierra Club.
Luján serves on the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force. He has introduced legislation to provide relief to communities and businesses impacted by PFAS/PFOA contamination in groundwater around Air Force bases in New Mexico and across the country.
In addition to supporting the Green New Deal, an economic stimulus package that aims to address climate change and economic inequality, Luján has developed legislation to put the United States on a path to net-zero carbon emission and address climate change.
Luján has been supported by the National Education Association. He supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and student loan reform. He cosponsored the STEM Education Coordination Act in an effort to produce more scientists and innovators in the United States.
Luján has pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bridge the digital divide to expand opportunities for rural communities. In 2018, he joined FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on a bus ride where students learned to code during their drive time.
Luján has supported increased funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service. He opposed the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 and was in favor of preserving sacred Native American ground. Luján worked to create legislation enabling tribes to directly request disaster assistance from the president. Luján's district contains 15 separate Pueblo tribes as well as tribal lands of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation. In February 2009, Luján 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), Luján sponsored an amendment to the House health care bill that would extend the current Indian Health Care system until 2025. Tribal governments were major donors to his 2012 reelection campaign.
Luján has worked with the New Mexico Congressional Delegation to protect the greater Chaco Canyon region from oil and gas drilling and methane emissions. He participated in a Congressional Delegation visit to Chaco Canyon and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 2019, to study the effects of methane emissions on sacred sites.
In infrastructure negotiations with President Trump at the White House, Luján stressed the importance of investing in rural broadband connectivity as a means of addressing cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.
On April 1, 2019, Luján announced he was running to succeed retiring Senator Tom Udall in the 2020 election. On June 2, 2020, Luján won the Democratic primary unopposed. He will face Mark Ronchetti in the general election.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 3rd congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
as House Assistant Democratic Leader
| Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority