We have known Teresa for several years, witnessed her defense of ranked choice voting; participated in climate action planning meetings at her office; attended the campaign kick off; supported her campaign to obtain DPNM’s endorsement; and have written in the past about our support for her candidacy. Now we make it official: Retake Our Democracy endorses Teresa Leger Fernandez to become the US Representative for New Mexico’s Congressional District 3.
Here are our reasons for endorsing Teresa:
- Teresa is very smart. You don’t get a BA from Yale and a law degree from Stanford without smarts…and if you’ve ever had a conversation with her, you know that her mind is razor sharp, quick to grasp and synthesize details.
- Teresa has a history of activism within NM. She was born in Las Vegas, grew up on a farm, and has love of the land and water that resides deep within her. She learned a good deal on both coasts in college and law school, but her identity and her sense of place is pure New Mexico, and her commitment runs deep.
- 20 years on the Board of Homewise, fighting for affordable housing.
- As an attorney she fought for and won the battle to implement Ranked Choice Voting in Santa Fe. She represented the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to defend voting and immigration rights, and for nearly thirty years has worked as a legal counselor and business advisor to Native American tribes throughout New Mexico.
- Going back to 2001 and then again in 2011, she fought for and won legal battles challenging gerrymandering.
- She served as Commissioner for Las Acequias de Chupaderas where she fought off developers trying to expropriate acequias’ water.
- Even while in law school, she helped founded and operated an immigrant rights organization in East Palo Alto.
- Teresa has important experience. Quite obviously, more than thirty years of advocacy within NM and in East Palo Alto represent an important experience base, one that demonstrates a commitment to immigration, water, voting rights, and both Indigenous and Hispanic communities. This is vital experience that illustrates just how deeply Teresa grasps New Mexican history and culture. But, despite spending most of her life in NM, fighting NM battles, she knows her way around Washington.
- She was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Panel on Historic Preservation.
- She was a White House fellow under President Clinton.
- Teresa’s commitment to New Mexico and to justice has resulted in endorsements that should matter to New Mexican voters, as most all of them are champions for justice.
- Emily’s List
- Sierra Club
- BOLD PAC–seeks to diversify the Democratic Party
- Poderi PAC– seeks to increase the number of pro-choice Latinas in Congress
- Jicarilla Apache Nation
- Latino Victory Fund
- NARAL Pro Choice America
- Working Families Party
- Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez’s Courage to Change Fund
- Voter Protection Project
- End Citizen’s United Fund
- Planned Parenthood Action Fund
- Let America Vote
- Moms Demand Action Guns Sense Candidate
- Adelante Progressive Caucus
- Taos News
- Santa Fe New Mexican
- Santa Fe Reporter
- Deb Haaland
- Kirsten Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines and Now
- Retake Our Democracy
Much has been said about Leger Fernandez’s support from PACs, but there are three things to consider here. First, Teresa strongly opposes private funding for elections, but the law of the land is that PACs may play a role in elections. Though her opponents have criticized her PAC support, I imagine all the other candidates for this position would welcome the endorsements and support from the kind of PACs supporting Teresa.
Second, and this relates to the recent spate of ads placed by PACs in her support, by federal election law, PACs are forbidden from communicating with a campaigns and can’t collaborate in messaging. Hence, candidates don’t sees PAC-funded ads until they are published.
Third, it makes a big difference which PACs are providing support. If you look at the PACs above, that is a laundry list of PACs with a history of advocacy for justice, a big difference from the gas & oil PACs funding ads for Democratic State Senators Smith, Papen, Muñoz, Sanchez and other Democrats in Name Only. Typically, PACs provide dark money support in exchange for support for their priorities. As is clear from Teresa’s lengthy history of fighting for justice in NM, she doesn’t need her commitment to justice paid for.
In short, Teresa has the experience, the smarts, the commitment to justice, and the support of others who are fighting the good fight. And then there are her boys. What a wonderful family.