Congresswoman Deb Haaland on New Mexico’s Historic House Election

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While final ballots for the presidency are still being counted, the 2020 election results so far have offered us glimmers of hope. It’s been an election of firsts: In New York, Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones became the first two openly gay Black men elected to Congress, and in Delaware, Sarah McBride became the first transgender state senator in U.S. history, among other landmark achievements across the country. Another major milestone was reached in New Mexico, which became the first state to elect all women of color to its House delegation in Washington, as reported by The Hill and CBS.

The three women elected in New Mexico include incumbent Democrat Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), who will serve her second term in Congress representing the First District; she became one of the first Indigenous women elected to Congress back in 2018. The other two women elected to the state’s House this term are Cherokee Republican Yvette Herrell, representing the state’s Second Congressional District, and Latina Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, representing the Third Congressional District.

“I’m very happy and proud that the voters of the First Congressional District once again elected me to represent them,” Haaland tells Vogue. “There’s a lot of work that’s yet to be done before this term ends. I will be continuing a lot of work that I started into the 117th Congress. If we didn’t get legislations passed, we’ll need to start all over again, so we’ll be busy reintroducing bills and so forth.” During her time as a congresswoman, Haaland has passed bills concerning climate change—her 30 by 30 resolution is meant to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030—and putting more focus on missing and murdered Indigenous women, among other efforts. 

Having New Mexico elect three people of color to the House—let alone a women-led delegation—is a big achievement for the state. “Either way, New Mexico was going to elect an all-woman delegation because every candidate was a woman,” says Haaland. “Women are 50% of the population in this country and less than 25% of Congress. The Republican Party really needs women, so they’re probably happy that they elected a woman here in New Mexico.” 

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