Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham jumped into the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary today, setting up a three-way contest that also includes former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez and State Sen. Eric Griego.
“I’m running for Congress because we are under attack in this country,” Lujan Grisham said in remarks released to the media. “A band of right-wing radicals in Congress has hijacked our country and put the interests of their corporate masters ahead of the middle class, seniors and the most vulnerable among us.”
The former cabinet secretary for the departments of Health and Aging said the economy is “crumbling, health care is becoming more expensive and inaccessible and our families are struggling to survive.”
“Congress’ answer to this has been to cut investments in our people while preserving tax breaks for oil companies and billionaire hedge-fund managers,” she said. “Worst of all, they have proposed dramatic cuts in Medicaid – which over 500,000 New Mexicans depend on – and, even worse, they would end Medicare as we know it.”
“I am running for Congress because we need to stop the insanity,” she said. “People need a champion to fight against these extreme policies and instead focus on creating more jobs.”
Lujan Grisham ran for Congress in 2008, but finished third in the Democratic primary. Democrat Martin Heinrich went on to win the seat, which he’s now giving up to run for U.S. Senate.
As a widow, single mother and caregiver, Lujan Grisham said she has “personally dealt with the everyday problems that real people face.” She said she has spent her career advocating “for those who cannot fight for themselves – from senior citizens and the disabled to children and those without health insurance. I have always worked for people and not the powerful and connected.”
On the Republican side, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis and former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones are running. Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, is considering joining the race.