Michelle Lujan Grisham is the 32nd Governor of New Mexico. It is interesting to note that she isn’t just the first Democratic woman to become the Governor of New Mexico but also the first Democratic Latina to become a governor in the whole of the United States.
1. Born and Raised in New Mexico
Grisham was born in Los Alamos, NM. Generally speaking, the town is best-known for being the birthplace of the atomic bomb. This happened because the U.S. government exercised eminent domain over the Los Alamos Ranch School plus the remaining homesteads in the region for the purpose of setting up a secret nuclear research campus, which produced not just “Trinity” but also both “Little Boy” and “Fat Man.” Having said that, Grisham was raised in Santa Fe, NM, which would be the state capital. Amusingly, Santa Fe is a much shortened version of the city’s full name of La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís, meaning “The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi.”
It is interesting to note that Grisham has stated that her ancestors have lived in New Mexico for 12 generations. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that she is a Hispano, meaning someone of Spanish descent of the 16th to 19th centuries in what was once New Spain but is now the the Southwestern United States. The term encompasses not just the Hispanos of New Mexico but also both Californios and Tejanos. It is believed that there are hundreds of thousands of Hispanos of New Mexico, but coming up with an exact number is complicated by the fact that a significant number of them identify with Chicanos and Mexican-Americans.
3. Had a Sister
People’s experiences tend to have a huge influence on their politics. For instance, Grisham has a strong interest in improving access to affordable healthcare, which can be traced to the fact that she had a sister named Kimberly. In short, Kimberly was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 2. Due to this, she exhausted the lifetime caps on her health insurance coverage within a very short period of time, with the result that Grisham’s parents spent decades and decades after Kimberly’s passing at the age of 21 paying back the debt for her healthcare costs.
4. Went to the University of New Mexico
Education-wise, Grisham went to the University of New Mexico, which is based in Albuquerque, NM but has a number of branch campuses situated throughout the rest of the state. First, she went for a Bachelor of Science. Then, she went for a Juris Doctor.
5. Served As Director of New Mexico’s Agency on Aging
Before Grisham started running for elected offices, she was the Director of New Mexico’s Agency on Aging. Moreover, she held the position under not one, not two, but three governors, who would be Bruce King, Gary Johnson, and Bill Richardson. The importance of the Agency on Aging can be seen in how Richardson elevated the position to the state cabinet, which makes sense because New Mexico has an older population that is expected to become older still in the times to come.
6. Served As New Mexico’s Secretary of Health
In 2004, Richardson named Grisham the new Secretary of Health for the state of New Mexico. She held the position until 2007, which was when she made the choice to start running for elected offices.
7. Elected to the U.S. Congress
Grisham didn’t manage to get elected to the U.S. Congress in 2008 because she lost in the Democratic primary to Martin Heinrich, who went on to win. However, when Heinrich made the choice to run for the U.S. Senate, she decided to give it another shot. As a result, Grisham was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Over that time, she did run into a problem when she and eight other members of the U.S. Congress took a trip to Baku that was secretly funded by the Azerbaijani government, but nothing came of it because the investigation revealed that neither the lawmakers nor their aides had no way of knowing that the trip had been funded in an improper manner.
8. Wanted to Repeal an Unenforceable Anti-Abortion Bill
New Mexico has a law from 1969 that makes it illegal for someone to provide a woman with an abortion unless the pregnancy either threatened her life or was a result of rape or incest. The law is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade in 1973. As a result, Grisham is a supporter of the idea of repealing the bill. Said effort passed the state’s House of Representatives but failed to pass the state’s Senate, which seems to have irritated Grisham because she called the law an “embarrassment.” In fact, she said that she found it inexplicable that there was even a debate on the issue. Never mind the difficulties that some senators had over repealing an unenforceable law.
9. Supports Environmental Efforts
Grisham is a supporter of environmental efforts. For example, she led New Mexico into the United States Climate Alliance, which is a coalition of states as well as self-governing territories that are committed to upholding the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Likewise, she wants her state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45 pecent below 2005 levels by 2030.
10. There Is Speculation That Biden Is Considering Grisham For VP Candidate
There is some speculation that Joe Biden’s campaign is considering Grisham as a vice presidential candidate. Basically, it has been confirmed that Biden’s campaign has contacted Grisham, but it has not been confirmed that it was because of that precise purpose. It is possible that Biden’s campaign is just seeking out her opinion as a Latina governor as well as the Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association, particularly since it has been accused of not reaching out to Hispanics as much as it should be in recent times. In any case, Biden has promised that his vice presidential candidate will be a woman, so it will be interesting to see who will wind up as his campaign’s final choice.