Nambe Native U.S. Congressman Speaks At Dem Convention
Last week the Valley Daily Post highlighted Nambe native Samuel LeDoux who attended the Republican National Convention as a delegate and had the distinction of announcing the New Mexico delegation’s votes for Donald Trump.
This week another Nambe resident is in the national spotlight but this time at the Democratic National Convention.
Nambe native and U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan spoke on the stage at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia to present candidates for congressional offices around the country. Lujan, who serves as the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) introduced some of the nation’s highest profile candidates to the convention but did so by highlighting his own upbringing in northern New Mexico.
“I grew up on that small farm. I spent my childhood turning dirt, stacking wood, feeding animals. We didn’t have much. But we had each other. We had familia.” Said Lujan.
Lujan, son of former Speaker of the New Mexico House Ben Lujan spoke at length on the hardship so many working class families of northern New Mexico have overcome, including his own. Lujan credited the hand up from programs like the GI Bill, Pell Grants and Social Security for helping so many achieve that college degree, and security in their senior years.
Lujan stressed family repeatedly, saying “the story of my family is the story of millions and millions of other families. It’s the story of the great American family. Carpenters and ironworkers, sheepherders and soldiers: generations of Americans have worked hard and looked out for each other, serving and sacrificing for the next generation.”
The full text of Congressman Lujan’s speak can be read on the Valley Daily Post where you may also find a link to a video of his speech.
Congressman Ben Ray Lujan Speech at DNC
I come from a family of pioneers. My grandparents took on the elements, lived through the Great Depression, survived poverty and family tragedy, and made a place for themselves in New Mexico before it was a state.
There, they tilled their land, raised their crops, protected what they had, and tried to help others.
I grew up on that small farm. I spent my childhood turning dirt, stacking wood, feeding animals.
We didn’t have much. But we had each other. We had familia.
My dad was a union ironworker – Local 495. My mom had a job with the local school district. They were married for 53 years before Dad passed.
Dad’s parents before him, Celedon and Nestora, were married even longer: 74 years. Grandpa Celedon, the sheepherder who first put down roots in New Mexico, was born in the era of the horse and buggy – but he lived to see the space shuttle soar into the heavens.
My mom’s dad, Grandpa Luis, was a union carpenter who went off to serve in World War II while his wife, Cleotilde, raised the family and was expecting their seventh child. He earned a Bronze Star for his heroism.
When I was young, Grandpa Celedon and Grandma Nestora helped care for us.
When I was older, Grandpa Luis and Grandma Cleotilde were hurt in a car crash, so we helped care for them.
Because that’s what families do.
Those are the values I learned growing up. That’s why I’m here today.
I know I may not look like your typical member of Congress. And, it’s true, I haven’t really gotten the bolo tie look to catch on.
But the story of my family is the story of millions and millions of other families. It’s the story of the great American family.
Carpenters and ironworkers, sheepherders and soldiers: generations of Americans have worked hard and looked out for each other, serving and sacrificing for the next generation.
We all gather together to celebrate the good times. We all rally around each other in times of hardship and tragedy. We all try to leave things a little better than we found them.
And these values hold true no matter who you are or where you come from.
As Democrats, we believe that everybody in America should have the same opportunity my grandparents and parents had: to work hard, to have a place of your own, to build some real economic security that you don’t have to worry will disappear overnight, to pass something on to your kids and grandkids.
Those are the values that built our party.
And for a century, we have led the fight: for Social Security and Medicare, for Pell Grants and the GI Bill, for universal health care, for inclusion and equality and opportunity for all.
We are proud of our accomplishments.
But now it is our turn to continue that tradition. We, too, must work to leave things better than we found them.
And Hillary Clinton is the President who will lead us.
But she needs a Congress that will work with her.
For nearly six years, Republicans have held the majority in the people’s House. But clinging to that majority is the only thing they’ve accomplished.
For nearly six years, House Republicans have put party over country.
For nearly six years, they’ve been afraid to stand up to the birthers and bigots and conspiracy theorists – like the one they just nominated for President.
Millions of Americans who don’t consider themselves Democrats have now joined us in rejecting Donald Trump’s bullying, his racism, his attempts to divide our American family.
Growing up, my grandparents shared with me the age old wisdom: Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres. Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.
For me, the choice is easy. I’m for real leadership, someone with character and values. I’m proud to walk with Hillary Clinton.
If your member of Congress is supporting Donald Trump instead, ask yourself this: What does that say about their leadership? Their character? Their values?
If they won’t even stand up to Donald Trump, what makes you think they’ll stand up for you and your family?
It’s time for new leaders who will put families first.
Leaders who will keep our nation and our neighborhoods safe. Leaders who will help every American family build a more secure financial future. Leaders who will fight to level the playing field, and put the people’s voice back in the People’s House.
I’d like you to meet some of those leaders.
Securing our nation, securing our democracy, securing our future: Democrats are focused on what matters most.
And the fresh faces we’ll elect this November will join a team of Democratic leaders in Congress who, like Hillary Clinton, have spent their lives working to improve the lives of others.
Together, we’ll work to create jobs and raise wages, secure equal pay for women and paid leave for every family, make it easier to pay down student debt and possible for every American to attend public college debt-free.
If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that House Democrats will always be in the fight.
Tonight, Democrats are united. We are passionate. We are fearless.
And we are ready to get to work alongside the next President of the United States of America: Hillary Clinton!
And if you are ready to get to work alongside us, then stand with us tonight!
Go to DCCC.org/Stronger, and stand with us all the way to November!
Because when we stand together, and work together, we win together.
Now, let’s get to work!