Monday, January 02, 2017

Rep. Lujan Grisham to Leave Congress to Run for Governor

On December 13, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham officially announced that she is leaving her seat in Congress to run for governor of New Mexico in November 2018. Anti-hunger advocates in New Mexico hate to lose a strong ally in the House of Representatives  but Lujan Grisham still has at least a year to fight for initiatives in the House of Representatives that will help children and hungry people in our state and in our country.

Taking the SNAP Challente in 2013
Since 2012, Lujan Grisham has served on the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, which provides significant input on important human-needs programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP and and domestic commodity distribution and consumer initiatives. She also was among the first to join the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, created by Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.
During her tenure in Congress, Lujan Grisham has also taken other actions to address hunger, such as seeking emergency funding for food banks and supporting the Global Food Security Act. To show how important the SNAP program is to hungry people, Lujan Grisham took the SNAP challenge along with other members of Congress. She will also be missed on the Congressional Women's softball team, which plays a rival from the Washington press corps to raise money for breast cancer programs. (She likely has one more game on the team, though).

We are pleased that Rep. Lujan Grisham is pledging to continue her anti-hunger and anti-poverty efforts closer to home. In a video announcing her candidacy, Lujan Grisham said she wants to fix persistent New Mexico problems such as high unemployment, poverty, “struggling schools,” high rates of drug addiction and “too many seniors and families who are afraid for their safety and feel left behind by the failed policies of the last six years," in reference to Gov. Susana Martinez's record in office.  Read more in Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. The race for governor is expected to be fairly competitive, however, especially if Attorney General Hector Balderas, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, Lieutenant Gov. John Sanchez, and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce decide to seek the office, as rumored. 

Mary Quinalty, Rene Ronquillo with Lujan Grisham in 2011
Potential Candidates for Congress
When then County Commissioner Lujan Grisham threw her hat into the ring to represent the New Mexico First Congressional District in the House of Representatives in 2011, Bread for the World advocates were among the first to meet with the then candidate for Congress to discuss hunger issues.  We also met with four other individuals who declared for the seat, including former Mayor Marty Chavez, State Sen. Eric Griego, former State Rep. Janice Arnold Jones and City Councilor Dan Lewis.

We hope to do something similar when the field of candidates becomes more clear. The New Mexico Political Report has released a very early list of possible candidates, including State Sen. Jacob Candelaria, City Councilor Pat Davis, State Rep. Javier Martinez, outgoing State Democratic Chair Deb Haaland, Bernalillo County Commissioners Maggie Hart Stebbins and Wayne Johnson, among others. All but Johnson are Democrats, but other Republicans are likely to join the fold at a later date.

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