The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time, with two of the three representatives, both Democrats, in New Mexico’s delegation voting in favor of the historic vote on Wednesday. The House voted 237-197 to impeach Trump, saying that Trump incited violence and the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week when his supporters took control of the building, driving lawmakers into hiding while some called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Trump is the first person to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans voted along with all Democrats to impeach Trump, after no Republicans voted to impeach Trump in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate voted to acquit Trump of those charges in February of 2020.
Domestic terrorism. Insurrection. Insanity. That’s what elected officials from New Mexico called what happened when a mob of right-wing Trump supporters stormed and briefly took over the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, as the House and Senate were debating challenges to election results based on unfounded conspiracy theories about voter fraud. The Senate voted against any objections that would undermine the majority of voters in any states.
Almost as soon as the news came out that President-elect Joe Biden chose Deb Haaland as his choice to head the Interior Department, attention turned to what would happen to the 1st Congressional District seat. If Haaland is confirmed to the cabinet-level position and resigns from the U.S. House, it would trigger a special election for her replacement.
Related: Report: Biden chooses Haaland for Interior Secretary
At the time of a vacancy, the Secretary of State would order a special election to be held between 77 and 91 days after the vacancy occurs. There would be no primary, instead the state central committees of the major parties would choose their nominees. If confirmed, this will be the first special election in New Mexico for a congressional seat since 1998—which was also in the 1st Congressional District, when Republican Heather Wilson defeated Democrat Phil Maloof and Green Party candidate Bob Anderson. At the time, the 1st Congressional District was held by Republicans from the time the state earned a second congressional district in 1969 until 2009, when Democrat Martin Heinrich won.
President-elect Joe Biden will name Deb Haaland as his nominee to head the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to a report by the Washington Post on Thursday, ending weeks of rumors and pushes by various factions in the form of anonymous quotes and leaks. If confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to hold the key position regarding public lands and environmental issues throughout the country. Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, one of New Mexico’s 23 federally recognized tribes and pueblos. Tribes have long had tensions with the Interior Department, over things like oil and gas drilling. As for Haaland, she—and other members of the congressional delegation—were behind a push to protect land around Chaco Canyon from oil and gas development.
New Mexico voters embraced candidates in the 2020 elections that have historically been underrepresented, including women, in elected office. The state saw a slew of “firsts” this year.
For the first time in the state’s history, New Mexico’s three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be held by women of color. And both Yvette Herrell, who will represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District, and Deb Haaland, who won reelection to the state’s 1st Congressional District, are enrolled members of Indigenous nations. Haaland is a member of Laguna Pueblo, and Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, making New Mexico the first state in the U.S. to have two Indigenous Representatives.
Teresa Leger Fernandez, who won New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, is Latina.
Terrelene Massey, Diné (Navajo) and the executive director of Southwest Women’s Law Center, said she’s really excited to see more representation from women, especially women of color and Native American women. “I think they’ll provide different perspectives on the different issues they’ll be working on,” Massey said.
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland secured her second term to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. The Associated Press called the race for Haaland at 8:34 p.m. with partial results from roughly 96 percent of precincts reported. Haaland was confident in her reelection campaign and said getting people out to vote was most important this year. “We did everything we could do to get voters to the polls. That was our main concern, just making sure that everybody voted and had a way to vote and understood how they could vote,” Haaland told NM Political Report after the polls closed.
The final Albuquerque Journal poll ahead of the elections showed large leads for Democrats in the race for president and U.S. Senate, as well as two of the three U.S. House races—but one House race is extremely close. The poll, conducted by Research and Polling, found a lead of 12 percentage points for Democratic candidate Joe Biden over incumbent Republican Donald Trump for president, 54 percent to 42 percent among those who are likely to vote or who have already voted. Most analysts have listed New Mexico as a safely or likely Democratic state on the presidential level. Democrats have won New Mexico’s five electoral votes in the last three presidential elections. The Journal reported Biden had large leads among women, Hispanic voters and moderates in addition to liberals.
This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s congressional candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change.
You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here.
The following interview is with Deb Haaland, who is running for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives for the state’s first congressional district. Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez. Haaland also served on then-president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as New Mexico’s vote director for Native Americans.
New Mexico’s First Congressional District covers parts of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Valencia and Torrance counties.
U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland and Raúl Grijalva hosted a panel discussion this week about environmental justice issues in New Mexico. Local speakers discussed a wide range of environmental issues during the panel, which was held in support of the Environmental Justice for All Act currently sitting in the House Natural Resources Committee.
“Race, poverty and the environment are increasingly recognized as interlocking issues,” said panelist Richard Moore, coordinator of the Albuquerque-based Los Jardines Institute. Moore described environmental racism as “the intentional targeting of communities of color and other communities for anything that they [wealthier communities] don’t want in their neighborhoods.”
“Low-income communities, especially people of color, are impacted by toxic pollution,” Moore said. “Children, the elderly and women—especially women of color—are paying the highest price from pollution as a result of increased work and health problems, and economic devastation.”
Haaland said COVID-19 pandemic has “put a spotlight on the legacy of environmental racism and injustice that has left frontline communities far more susceptible to that disease than others.”
RELATED: For Greater Chaco communities, air pollution compounds COVID-19 threat
“For years, powerful elites have treated some communities as sacrifice zones.
The city of Albuquerque’s 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage special on Wednesday was both a celebration of the 19th amendment and a reminder of the darker moments behind voting rights. A bevy of women speakers, from political leaders like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to young women pledging to vote for the first time this year, talked about the importance of voting and frequently referred to it as a way to make their voices heard. Many also spoke about the struggle for women of color to gain the right to vote even after the passage of the 19th amendment. Social justice advocate Pamelya Herndon, executive director and founder of KWH Social Justice Law Center and Change, brought up the education requirements that some Black voters faced for a century in some states after the Civil War ended as just one impediment. Herndon said the historical social justice leader and “leading male feminist of his time,” W.E.B. Du Bois said that “in order for the Black race to be lifted, every single Black person must have the right to vote.”
The women’s suffrage movement distanced itself from the concept of Black women having the right to vote in the early years of the effort because the suffragettes didn’t want to alienate the white Southern women involved in the cause, according to historians.