Teresa Leger Fernandez
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Mexico's 3rd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Ben Ray Luján|
July 1, 1959
Las Vegas, New Mexico, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Luis Fernandez (divorced)|
|Relatives||Ray Leger (father)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
Stanford University (JD)
Teresa Isabel Leger Fernandez (/ / teh-RESS-ah LEDGE-ər fehr-NAHN-dess; born July 1, 1959) is an American attorney and politician representing New Mexico's 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.
Leger Fernandez was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Her mother was a bilingual educator and her father, Ray Leger, served as a member of the New Mexico Senate. After graduating from West Las Vegas High School, Leger Fernandez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.
After graduating from law school, Leger Fernandez returned to New Mexico to work as an attorney, specializing in community-building and tribal advocacy. She was a White House Fellow during the Clinton Administration and later served on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation during the Obama Administration. She also worked as a liaison between the White House Office and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. For 30 years, Leger Fernandez has operated Leger Law and Strategy, LLC in Santa Fe. The firm focuses on community development, tribal advocacy, civil rights, and social justice. In 2017, she led a successful effort to implement ranked-choice voting in Santa Fe's municipal elections.
After incumbent Representative Ben Ray Luján announced that he would not seek reelection in 2020 and instead run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Tom Udall, Leger Fernandez announced her candidacy to succeed Luján. In the Democratic primary, Leger Fernandez faced six opponents, including New Mexico State Representative Joseph L. Sanchez and Valerie Plame, an author and former CIA officer. During the primary, Leger Fernandez was criticized for attack ads against Plame, including one that featured swastikas superimposed over Plame's eyes, a reference to past comments of Plame's that were perceived as anti-Semitic. In response, Leger Fernandez denied any involvement with the ads. Leger Fernandez was also criticized for so-called "dark money" groups that do not disclose their donors. She said that her campaign had no connection to the ads or the groups that sponsored them and the groups, pledging her support for campaign finance reform. During the campaign, Leger Fernandez was endorsed by Congresswoman Deb Haaland, EMILY's List, and The Santa Fe New Mexican.
A political progressive, Leger Fernandez was also endorsed by the Working Families Party, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She placed first in the primary with over 42% of the vote.
In the November general election, Leger Fernandez defeated Republican nominee Alexis Johnson. She assumed office on January 3, 2021.
Leger Fernandez has advocated a "New Mexico Green New Deal", Medicare for All, a transition from fracking to green energy, and a ban on the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles. She has also supported comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.
Leger Fernandez and her ex-husband, Luis Fernandez, have three sons.
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