Louise Holland Coe
|President pro tempore of the New Mexico Senate|
|New Mexico State Senator|
|Constituency||Lincoln County, Otero County, Socorro County, and Torrance County|
|Born||November 26, 1894|
|Died||March 13, 1985 (aged 90)|
Roswell, New Mexico
|Alma mater||University of New Mexico|
Louise Holland Coe (November 26, 1894 - March 13, 1985) was the first woman elected to the New Mexico Senate and its first female president pro tempore. She was elected six years after women in the United States won the right to vote, and she was also the first woman Democratic candidate for the United States Congress, running in 1940.
Coe's early background and career was in public education and administration. She began teaching at rural schools. From 1916 to 1918, Coe taught classes in the Ruidoso Valley. At some point, she worked as the principal of the consolidated school system of San Patricio. In 1917, Holland was elected the Superintendent of Schools in Lincoln County; in this position, she made novel decisions for the time period, consolidating smaller schools into a larger district. In 1919 or 1920, Holland married a rancher, Wilbur Coe, who supported her political and educational ambitions. Later on, in 1938, a local newspaper stated that after she married, she "began to live on a ranch in the Ruidoso Valley in the White Mountains of the south central section of New Mexico. Two miles away from her ranch home was a one-room school attended only bv Spanish-American children. Teachers for this school were hard to find and none ever stayed for a full term. Motivated by this Louise Coe decided to teach here and give these children who were her friends and neighbors a better opportunity."
In 1924, Coe was elected to the New Mexico Senate as its first female senator, just four years after women won the right to vote, and just three years after women won the right to run for office in New Mexico. She represented Lincoln, Otero, Socorro and Torrance counties. She held her office from 1925 to 1941, for four consecutive terms. Coe's main focus was on education, including programs and legislation that improved the state's public education system. For 12 years, she was the chairman of the Senate Education and "was influential in securing legislation providing free textbooks, larger libraries, higher teacher qualifications and salaries, and designating sales and severance taxes as school revenues." Outside of education, Coe sponsored legislation that would have given women the right to control their property. Coe was elected by her peers as the Senate president pro tempore from 1929 to the end of her term, the nation's first woman president pro tempore in any senate.
Coe attended the University of New Mexico and graduated in 1930 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in Spanish. While at university, she joined the women's fraternity Alpha Delta Pi.
In 1940, Coe ran for a position in the United States House of Representatives and was the first Democratic woman to do so. However, she lost to Clinton Presba Anderson in the primary election. After Coe left her position in the state Senate, no woman would be elected until 1965. As of 2012, Coe is still the only female president pro tempore of the New Mexico Senate.
Louise Holland Coe and her husband Wilbur may eventually have moved to Glencoe, New Mexico, an unincorporated community nearby. This community was named in her family's honor. Through her life, she traveled to various countries, including Thailand, Japan, and India.