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Candidate of the Week

Martin Heinrich
New Mexico

Making improvements to our background check system and cracking down on illegal gun trafficking are common-sense ways to prevent violence without punishing law abiding gun owners. We owe it to the American people to take real action to reduce gun violence in our communities.

Martin Heinrich
Policy Positions

New Mexico, population 2.1 million, has the highest percentage of Latinos among all states — some 49 percent. The state legislature may publish laws in English and Spanish. In court, witnesses and defendants may testify in either language. People who speak Spanish but not English can serve on juries.

Meanwhile, New Mexico has the second-highest percentage of Native Americans of any state except Alaska (in all, some 200,000 residents). But until 1948 Natives living on reservations were not allowed to vote though they were U.S. citizens (the rationale denying them suffrage was that they did not pay taxes).

At 18 percent, New Mexico’s poverty rate is topped only by Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s. The state ranks 49th for education equality by race, and 32nd for its racial gap in income. State policies have been enacted to address chronic poverty, including an hourly minimum wage increase in 2021. The current New Mexico minimum, $10.50, is higher than that of the federal government and 34 other states. The State Legislature is currently considering providing a guaranteed basic income for residents.

New Mexico since 2018 has had a Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. All constitutional officers are Democrats, and both chambers of the Legislature have Democratic majorities. Both federal Senators are Democrats, as are representatives for two of the state’s three federal congressional districts. Until 2008, New Mexico was traditionally a swing state in presidential races. Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 marked the first time New Mexico was won by a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Al Gore won by only 366 votes in 2000, and George W. Bush in 2004 by fewer than 6,000 votes. Since then, New Mexico has gone Democrat in every presidential election.

New Mexico has no major abortion restrictions: no waiting periods, mandated parental involvement, limitations on publicly funded abortions, or limits on maximum weeks of gestation. New Mexico has thus become a haven for abortion seekers from neighboring states where the procedure is restricted or banned, including Texas.