IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Congressman Ben Ray Luján

Born and raised in New Mexico, Rep. Ben Ray Luján grew up in Nambe, a small farming community north of Santa Fe bordered by the pueblos of Nambe and Pojoaque. There he learned the time-honored traditions and values of New Mexico.

Since he was sworn into Congress, Rep. Luján has worked to get our economy back on track, reform health insurance, build a clean energy economy, and stand up for consumers.

Rep. Luján has stood up for New Mexicans who are struggling in these difficult economic times by cosponsoring the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights, fighting to reform Wall Street, voting to provide tax cuts for families and small businesses, and working to reform our broken health insurance system. He has worked for the people of New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, passing legislation that invests in scientific research at New Mexico’s national laboratories, fighting for Tribal Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions in the America COMPETES Act, and advocating for tribal communities by improving infrastructure, education, and health care.

Rep. Luján represents his diverse district by participating in a variety of Caucuses including the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Natural Gas Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Native American Caucus, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

Rep. Luján sits on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Committee on Natural Resources. On these committees, he is able to serve the many needs of the district which spans from San Juan County in the Northwest to Roosevelt County in the Southeast – and the treasured lands in between.

As a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, Rep. Luján is working to combat climate change and make New Mexico a leader in renewable energy through investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. Rep. Luján is also on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, where he focuses on investment in programs that promote environmental sustainability.

As a member of the Committee on Natural Resources and the Water and Power Subcommittee , Rep. Luján works to preserve land, water, and resources for future generations. He also continues to build on his efforts to improve services for Indian Country as a member of the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee.

At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Rep. Luján, together with co-chair Frank Wolf of Virginia, founded the Technology Transfer Caucus to bring together members who share thegoal of strengthening our economy by helping move technological innovations that are occurring at New Mexico’s national labs and universities into the marketplace.

Rep. Luján is also the 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. His work in Congress to ensure that the Hispanic community is included in the emerging clean energy economy earned him the recognition of one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Luján served as the Chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. As a Commissioner, Rep. Luján worked with his colleagues to develop a renewable portfolio standard to increase renewable energy production by New Mexico utilities to 20 percent of their total production by 2020 and to diversify utilities’ renewable portfolios to include solar energy. On behalf of the state of New Mexico, Rep. Luján joined his fellow Commissioners from California, Oregon, and Washington to sign onto the Joint Action Framework on Climate Change to create regional solutions to climate change.

With the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Rep. Luján advocated for first responders.He worked with firefighters, the state legislature, and other officials to overhaul the New Mexico Fire Fund so that all distributions from the fund would go to improving fire services in New Mexico.

Rep. Luján also worked to improve health care as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission by investigating the denial practices of the health insurance industry.The investigation led to the development of legislation that expanded access to insurance and closed loopholes the industry had been using to unfairly deny medical claims and void policies. Prior to that, he served as New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department’s director of administrative services and chief financial officer.

Rep. Luján earned his Bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University in Business Administration.