Will New Mexico gain its first openly gay congressman?
When President-Elect Joe Biden nominated Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior, a question mark arose around her NM first district seat. The seat will go up for grabs if Haaland is confirmed for the cabinet position. And now, an openly LGBT man has announced his plans to run for the position.
Victor Reyes is the Legislative Director for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and chairman of New Mexico’s Community Development Council. And now, Reyes is running for the Congressional seat. While Reyes has promised to run a people-powered campaign, he has already gained the support of New Mexico House Majority Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton. Stapleton will be serving as Reyes’ campaign treasurer.
“Growing up, my mother always told me: ‘Tienes que ser una voz para los que sienten que no tienen las palabras o el poder,’” Reyes said in his campaign announcement video. “‘You’ve got to be a voice for the people who feel they don’t have the words or the power themselves.’ That’s what being a representative in Congress should be all about. That’s why I’ve done my whole life.”
He then added:
“In Congress, I’ll stand strong for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal that protects our treasured air, land, and water. I’ll fight for racial justice, reproductive justice, and LGBTQ and transgender rights. Together, with the support of the voters of the district, we’ll prioritize criminal justice reform and provide real support for our families and small businesses amid this pandemic. Just like I’ve done here in New Mexico, I’ll never back down to the NRA and the gun lobby. When it comes to being there for our educators and organized labor, you know you can always count on me. We can only do this together. And we will.”
Victor Reyes is the fifth Democrat to officially enter the race for Rep. Deb Haaland’s congressional seat, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Libertarian Aubrey Dunn has also announced his plans to run and several Republicans have shared their interest.
Despite the tough competition, there’s a lot to bolster Reyes’ legitimacy in the race. Not only would he be the first LGBTQ congressman, should he win, but he has the support of major politicians and is related to former Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes. But will that be enough for the progressive voice to win over what will be a crowded race?