New Mexico's all-female US House Delegation discuss importance of representation | KOB 4

New Mexico's all-female US House Delegation discuss importance of representation

Chris Ramirez
Created: November 15, 2020 10:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — History was made in New Mexico when voters voted in three women to represent all three Congressional districts in Washington D.C. 

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NMCD-1; Rep.-elect Yvette Herrell, R-NMCD-2; and Rep.-elect Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-NMCD-3 are blazing the trail for young New Mexicans proving they don’t need wealth or political legacies behind them to find success. 

“Representation matters," Rep. Haaland told KOB 4 on a recent Zoom call with her future U.S. House of Representatives colleagues.  “Women are about 50% of the population in our country and less than 25% in Congress. Congress.  Our country deserves to have equal representation and so the fact that three women from New Mexico will be going to Congress to represent our state—I think that sends a message, right?”

“Well, it is historic,” said Rep.-elect Yvette Herrell.  “It just shows that it's a nice thing to see so many women, I think there were 94 women that ran for the U.S. House, and to see so many women standing up wanting to be engaged. And when I'm looking at just the diversity, women have won both sides of the aisle, the have different experience levels, where they come from around the nation, it's a very humbling and exciting opportunity for all of us to serve.”

“Women and especially women of color deserve to be in every single room and place where decisions are being made about our communities,” said Rep.-elect Teresa Leger Fernandez.  “Because we are taking to those places like Congress, our lived experiences, our unique understanding of what it's like to come from a ranching communities in northern New Mexico, to Native American communities, to our beautiful urban areas.”

None of these women come from rich families or political legacies.  They all come from humble beginnings.  Herrell grew up in Cloudcroft, Leger Fernandez from San Miguel County and Haaland from the Laguna Pueblo.  Haaland has been very vocal about the times that she faced tremendous obstacles, but found ways to overcome them. 

“I know what it's like to battle with addiction,” Haaland said.  “Addiction is something that's so prevalent right here in New Mexico. The reason I came out, and was very transparent about that, was because I wanted people to know that I recognize that it's an issue in New Mexico. I'm going to Congress to try to work on moving that forward.  But I went to college, I went to law school, I succeeded, because I had a family and a community who stood behind me and who supported me.”

For the first time in two years, a Republican will join New Mexico’s federal delegation. We asked how their political diversity won’t divide them to work on behalf of New Mexicans, but unite them instead.

“The three of us are going to Washington at a time when we need to get this pandemic under control and Congress needs to step up and assist in that effort,” said Leger Fernandez.  “The reality is—when somebody gets COVID, and they're ill, or they die, or they lose their jobs, or all of the horrible things, they're not Republicans or Democrats, they are people we love."

“It's about being able to come together with real ideas that will work for everybody,” Herrell said. “It's about give and take.”

“We're a small state, not geographically, but emotionally and spiritually, we're a small state,” said Haaland.  “We all need to work together to make sure that our state does really well.”


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