These women rule

New Mex­ico vot­ers put more women into power

The Taos News - - KIDS - STORY BY CODY HOOKS [email protected]­NEWS.COM IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS BY DANIEL HAYES

The 2018 gen­eral elec­tion, the big one that hap­pened at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber, was im­por­tant in lots of ways, in­clud­ing the his­toric num­ber of women run­ning for of­fice. Af­ter all the votes were counted, fe­male can­di­dates clearly had a win­ning streak. Let’s take the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives as an ex­am­ple. The house has 435 mem­bers from across the United States. In all, 102 women were vic­to­ri­ous in their bids to serve in Congress.

Some of the high-pro­file win­ners are Alexan­dria Oca­sioCortez of New York, who at 28 years old is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Sim­i­larly, there’s Xo­chitl Tor­res Small of Las Cruces here in New Mex­ico, who at 33 years old ran for of­fice and won.

Why does this mat­ter? As the na­tion charts its fu­ture through cli­mate change, global pol­i­tics and is­sues, such as im­mi­gra­tion, re­pro­duc­tive jus­tice and gun vi­o­lence, we need more voices at the ta­ble from more types of peo­ple.

The suc­cess­ful races of can­di­dates like Tor­res Small show that wave of po­lit­i­cal ex­cite­ment that some peo­ple called the “Year of the Woman” washed over New Mex­ico, too. Here’s a look at some of the women who are about to take on some im­por­tant jobs.

Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham

NEW MEX­ICO GOVER­NOR

The fourth floor of the Round­house, the New Mex­ico capi­tol in Santa Fe, is a pow­er­ful place. It’s where the gover­nor of the state goes to work each day. Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham, a Demo­cratic con­gress­woman from the Al­bu­querque area, will be head­ing up to the fourth floor af­ter she’s sworn into of­fice in Jan­uary.

Lu­jan Gr­isham is New Mex­i­can through and through. She was born in Los Alamos, raised in Santa Fe and went to Al­bu­querque to the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico for un­der­grad­u­ate and law school. When Lu­jan Gr­isham an­nounced on YouTube she was run­ning to be the next gover­nor of New Mex­ico, she al­ready had a big po­lit­i­cal pro­file as one of the state’s three mem­bers of Congress.

Lu­jan Gr­isham “was mar­ried to her col­lege sweet­heart, Greg, for 21 years be­fore his sud­den pass­ing in 2004, leav­ing Michelle as a newly sin­gle mother of two teenage girls, Tay­lor and Erin,” says her Face­book page. Her dog’s name is Kiwi.

Lu­jan Gr­isham, a Demo­crat, faced off against Re­pub­li­can Steve Pearce in the gen­eral elec­tion. She won with 57 per­cent of the vote. Lu­jan Gr­isham will take of­fice in Jan­uary, re­plac­ing Su­sana Martinez as gover­nor.

SAY ’HEY!’ Lu­jan Gr­isham has a Face­book page, “Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham,” a Twit­ter ac­count, @Michelle4NM and a web­site, newmex­i­cans­formichelle.com. And for the next few weeks, she still has her con­gres­sional web­site, lu­jan­gr­isham.house.gov.

Deb Haa­land

U.S. HOUSE OF REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVES, DISTRICT 1

“Congress has never heard a voice like mine,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Deb Haa­land.

No Na­tive Amer­i­can woman had ever been elected to Congress un­til Nov. 6, when Haa­land be­came one of two Indige­nous women to win a seat in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Though her story is rich and long, Haa­land’s Twit­ter pro­file sums it up: “Con­gress­woman-Elect for NM CD1. For­mer Dem Party Chair. Proud UNM Lobo mom. Pue­blo woman. Marathon run­ner. Gourmet cook.”

Haa­land is a mem­ber of La­guna Pue­blo. She led the state’s Demo­cratic Party and ran for lieu­tenant gover­nor of New Mex­ico in 2014.

She’s been busy since the elec­tion. “Rep­re­sen­ta­tion mat­ters. In Congress, in the me­dia, ev­ery­where. Proud to bring is­sues like cli­mate change, miss­ing and mur­dered Indige­nous women, and fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion to (light). Now, time for a nap on the flight home,” Haa­land tweeted last week. SAY ’HEY!’ You can send Haa­land a mes­sage through her Face­book page, “Deb Haa­land for Congress.” You can also send an email through her cam­paign web­site, deb­for­congress.com, or tweet to her @De­b4Con­gressNM.

Xo­chitl Tor­res Small

U.S. HOUSE OF REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVES, DISTRICT 2

Xo­chitl Tor­res Small pulled off some­thing re­mark­able. At only 33 years old, she won a seat in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. When a new Congress is sworn in next year, she’ll rep­re­sent about 700,000 peo­ple across South­ern New Mex­ico.

Tor­res Small is a wa­ter at­tor­ney in Las Cruces. She went to col­lege at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and then got a law de­gree in Al­bu­querque at the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico School of Law.

Tor­res Small’s race was like many in the 2018 gen­eral elec­tion, where the votes weren’t fully counted and the win­ner named un­til days af­ter the elec­tion. Tor­res Small, a Demo­crat, ran against Yvette Her­rell, a Re­pub­li­can mem­ber of the New Mex­ico House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

As the votes came in on Elec­tion Day, it seemed Har­rell was the win­ner. But the nail-biter elec­tion didn’t end there. A few thou­sand votes had not yet been counted in Doña Ana County. When they were, Tor­res Small came out on top. SAY ’HEY!’You can send Xo­chitl a mes­sage on Twit­ter; her han­dle is @ XochforCongress. You can also send an email to [email protected]]

Jacque­line Me­d­ina

NEW MEX­ICO COURT OF AP­PEALS, PO­SI­TION 2

Like a lot of you, Jacque­line Me­d­ina was born and raised in Taos. We asked her what Taos was like back then, and she said it was “a beau­ti­ful, di­verse, out­door won­der­land.”

Me­d­ina re­mem­bers be­ing scared as a kid be­cause there “was a time when I was ter­ri­fied of a bully on the bus ride home.” That bully grew up (and hope­fully grew out of their bad be­hav­ior), but Me­d­ina is still wor­ried about bul­lies, but on a big­ger scale. “Now, I am most con­cerned with the ris­ing tide of in­tol­er­ance,” Me­d­ina told The Taos News.

Me­d­ina was one of four women to win a spot on the New Mex­ico Court of Ap­peals, the sec­ond high­est court in the state (right af­ter the New Mex­ico Supreme Court). Those four wins give women a su­per­ma­jor­ity — 8 out of 10 seats — on the court.

It turns out the Ran­chi­tos neigh­bor­hood where Me­dia grew up is the child­hood home of a few other suc­cess­ful fe­male can­di­dates, Me­d­ina told The Taos News. Denise Romero won the elec­tion to be­come the first fe­male sher­iff in Va­len­cia County while Chris­tine Tru­jillo kept her seat in the New Mex­ico House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. SAY ’HEY!’ You’ll have to go old-school to get in touch with Me­d­ina. You can give her a call at the New Mex­ico Court of Ap­peals at (505) 841-4618.

Candyce O’Don­nell

TAOS COUNTY BOARD OF COM­MIS­SIONER, DISTRICT 5

You may have heard of Candyce O’Don­nell be­fore. She’s a long­time res­i­dent of Taos and had al­ready been in of­fice for four years be­fore win­ning her re-elec­tion.

The Taos News asked her about be­ing a kid. When O’Don­nell was grow­ing up, she was most scared of ghosts, she said.

A lot has changed in her life, and the world, and her big­gest fear is some­thing that’s be­com­ing more de­struc­tive each year. “To­day, (it’s) the eco­nomic, dis­place­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences of global cli­mate change for cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Un­like the other politi­cians in this story, O’Don­nell faced no chal­lenger in the gen­eral elec­tion. How­ever, the pri­mary elec­tion in June came down to a ra­zor-thin mar­gin. O’Don­nell won against two chal­lengers, lead­ing by only 25 votes. O’Don­nell is the only woman on the Taos County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

Among the things she said she could do to help kids dur­ing her next term is help “ex­pand the ser­vices for chil­dren whose par­ents have been ar­rested and de­tained in the Taos County Adult De­ten­tion Cen­ter.”

SAY ’HEY!’ You can talk with O’Don­nell on Face­book through her page, “Taos County Com­mis­sioner District V Candyce O’Don­nell,” send an email to candyce. odon­[email protected], or write an old-fash­ioned let­ter (Don’t for­get the stamp.) to Candyce O’Don­nell, 105 Al­bright St., Taos, New Mex­ico 87571.

SAY ’HEY!’

These elected of­fi­cials are in the mid­dle of what politi­cos call “the tran­si­tion,” from the cam­paign staff to a team that’s ready when ev­ery­one’s sworn into of­fice. They’ll have new email ad­dresses and web­sites by Jan­uary, so be sure to dou­ble check their con­tact in­for­ma­tion in the new year.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can vote in the pri­mary elec­tion if you’re 17 years old but will be

18 by the gen­eral elec­tion. Pri­mary elec­tions de­cide which can­di­date will run for each of­fice in each party. Vot­ing in the pri­mary will be an op­tion for a lot of high school stu­dents in 2020 when the next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion hap­pens. If you’re

12 right now and your birth­day is on or be­fore Nov. 5, you can vote in the 2024 elec­tion and pri­mary. Put that on your cal­en­dar.

WHO VOTED?

It wasn’t un­til 1971 that 18-yearolds got the right to vote. His­tor­i­cal pat­terns tell us that young peo­ple don’t vote in the num­bers their par­ents and grand­par­ents do, even though they have as much, if not more, at stake. In Taos County, only a few young folks turned out to cast their bal­lot. Out of about 14,500 vot­ers over­all, only 129 of them were be­tween the ages of 18-20.

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