A new crop of House members are descending on Washington ahead of Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony.
We caught up with incoming Rep. Deb Haaland in the first installment of The Point’s new feature: Meet Your New Members of Congress!
The Democrat from New Mexico is looking to prioritize the conversation around missing and murdered Native women in her first term – and happens to be a huge fan of classic rock.
Lauren Dezenski: What’s your top priority in your first term?
Deb Haaland: As an organizer for more than 20 years, I’ll bring those skills to Congress to organize my colleagues on issues that matter to New Mexico and Indian Country. Many of my colleagues are ready to fight climate change, as am I. We also want health care for all, strong public schools, universal early childhood education and a Green New Deal that brings long-lasting jobs to our communities.
LD: How can more Native Americans be elected across New Mexico – and across the country?
DH: I intend to leave the ladder down for women, women of color and Native Americans – who are the least represented in any elected positions. I’m proud to have encouraged and contributed to several Native women this past cycle who won their state house seats. I’ll continue to support political leadership training organizations like Emerge – where in New Mexico, Emerge NM recruits Native American women to the apply to the program and to run. I believe that Native women are seeing positive role models in the wins that happened this year. I will keep supporting them.
LD: If 2018 is the year of the woman, what does that make 2019?
DH: 2019 is the year of the bold agenda. When the true diversity of our nation is represented, we see a shift in our communities actually getting what they need: clean air and water, protected lands, affordable health care and quality education are just a few.
LD: Did you have a New Year’s resolution in 2018 – and did you achieve it? What about 2019?
DH: For 2018, I resolved to work as hard as I could to win my race for New Mexicans. Next year, I will make missing and murdered Native women part of the national conversation so that we can all work to end this crisis.
LD: What’s your favorite pump-up music to get yourself motivated?
DH: I am a classic rock fanatic!
LD: What is your favorite thing to eat in your district?
DH: Absolutely no question: Red chile enchiladas, red chile stew, red chile and frijoles and fried potatoes with a homemade hot tortilla.
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Haaland and the rest of the incoming House class will be sworn in at noon on Thursday.