Debra Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, made history in 2014 by being the first Native American on a major party gubernatorial ticket in her run for New Mexico’s Lt. Governor. After her running mate fell short in the November elections her chance at being the first Native to win that ticket disappeared.
However, that hasn’t stopped Haaland from changing the course of history as she looks to do it again in 2015.
With Republican Gov. Susana Martinez defeating the state’s Attorney General Gary King – Haaland’s running mate – and earning reelection, Haaland has shifted her sites on a run to lead the state’s Democratic Party.
If she becomes chairwoman, she would be the first Native American woman to lead a major political party in the state.
“There is a lot of healing that needs to be done, and a lot of uniting. As I traveled the state in 2014, I saw what was beautiful and amazing about New Mexico and our Party, but I also saw things we could do better. That’s why I’m running for Chair; we can rebuild our party and create new bridges that will enable us to come back in 2015 and 2016 stronger than ever.”
Haaland is a single mother of a college-going daughter who serves as Chairwoman of the Native American Democratic Caucus of New Mexico and is a member of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s State Platform and Resolution Committee.
"I’m proud to stand with Deb Haaland today as she begins this journey,” said State Auditor elect Tim Keller in a press release for Haaland. “Deb is as fantastic a leader as she is a person, and I know she will fight for Democratic values across our state."
Haaland is currently a Tribal Administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and is Chairwoman of the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, a former small business owner, and Graduate of UNM Law. In addition to working Native Country for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, Haaland has worked on several local and statewide campaigns in a variety of capacities.
“It’s absolutely a privilege and an honor, and one I take very seriously,” said Haaland. “The bottom line is this: as Democrats, we must solidify our Party in 2015 so that in 2016 we can advocate effectively for Early Childhood Education, fight for our teachers and workers, and support our candidates in all 33 counties.”
Haaland further stated that the focus of the Party will be to win elections.