NAME: Teresa Leger Fernandez
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Congresswoman for New Mexico’s 3rd District
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Owner of Leger Law & Strategy, represented tribes and community organizations; White House Fellow and special assistant to Housing & Urban Development secretary; vice-chair, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; chair and Executive Committee, Homewise (20 years — affordable housing organization); vice-chair, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; acequia commissioner.
EDUCATION: West Las Vegas, Headstart to high school; Yale College, B.A.; Stanford Law School, J.D. with distinction.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Teresaforall.com
1. What is the biggest issue New Mexico is facing right now and how would you address it in Congress?
Families are struggling with the high costs of living, housing and health care, while wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. In Congress, I helped pass legislation that will lower costs, stop price gouging, and create higher paying jobs. I’m leading the fight to ensure wildfire victims are fully compensated.
2. What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
Climate change driven drought threatens New Mexico’s water and very existence. I voted for historic investments in renewable energy and new technologies to reduce emissions, create good-paying jobs and make us an energy industry leader. I led on legislation to fund clean water, drought mitigation, and clean up orphaned wells.
3. What is your position on abortion? Do you think states should be able to place restrictions on it?
Like most New Mexicans, I trust women to make personal decisions about pregnancy with their familias, their faith, and their health care provider — without government interference. I voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify abortion access at the federal level so women everywhere are treated equally.
4. Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election?
5. What actions should Congress take regarding people now living illegally in the U.S.? What about for those who want to come in?
Reforming our broken immigration system would be a $1.3 trillion benefit to the U.S. economy. We should provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and hardworking undocumented Americans, uphold the rights of asylum seekers, and adopt the bipartisan Farmworker Modernization Act so our crops are harvested responsibly.
6. Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?
I cosponsored legislation to ban the future sale of military-style assault weapons which are too often used in mass shootings. It would not affect current firearms owners. I also support a comprehensive background check system to make sure dangerous individuals do not have access to firearms.
7. Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
We must expand our economic base by investing in all our resources: our beautiful outdoors, our science and education centers, and especially, our resourceful people. I worked to bring essential infrastructure, broadband, and manufacturing to New Mexico so we can become an innovation hub and grow our small businesses.
8. What actions do you think Congress should take to address inflation?
In Congress, I helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act that will help fix our supply chain, bring down energy costs, and reduce the cost of health care and prescription drugs. We also need to hold CEOs of massive corporations accountable for price gouging.
9. What is your position on the U.S.’s response to the war in Ukraine? Are there additional actions the U.S. should be taking?
I voted to make sure Ukraine has the resources it needs to defend itself from Putin’s aggression. I support further engagement with the international community to support Ukraine and sanction Russia for its barbaric invasion.
10. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
I lost two brilliant brothers to substance abuse and want to make sure no other family feels that deep pain. I introduced legislation to reduce substance abuse and helped secure the largest investment in addressing mental health issues and the opioid epidemic ever. Addiction is a health care issue.
11. What should be done at the federal level to address the increase in violent crime in the U.S., and especially in New Mexico?
We must address the root causes of crime, invest in our education system, and ensure law enforcement have the resources they need to deter crime and build trust. I’ve facilitated New Mexico law enforcement training workshops, increased federal funding for policing, and provided support for local police initiatives.
12. What are your thoughts on the status of the U.S. Department of Justice oversight of Albuquerque’s police department? Would you take steps to try to change it in any way?
Police must have the resources they need to keep the public safe and the public needs the appropriate oversight to create trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect.
13. In a time of high partisanship and division, what are some issues where you could find common ground and work with members of the opposing party?
I represent New Mexicans, regardless of party. My legislative work is largely bipartisan, notably, addressing PFAS contamination, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to compensate downwinders and uranium workers, wildfire response, drought mitigation, and education. I also chair one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress: the Sub-Committee for Indigenous Peoples.
14. What actions can Congress take to address the scourge of mass shootings?
We must pass common-sense gun violence prevention legislation that the vast majority of Americans support, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and a comprehensive background check system. We can make sure Americans are safe in their communities while still respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to freely own firearms.
15. What differentiates you from your opponents?
Experience. I spent 30 years building small businesses, health centers and headstarts, fighting for voting rights and being a tenacious advocate for our communities. I focus on listening to my constituents and then take positive action to help. This experience has helped me deliver significant wins for hard-working New Mexicans.
16. Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
I believe small places can do big things. I believe, together, we can build a prosperous future for New Mexico. I bring a fierce love of our rural, diverse communities to my work. I have not only worked on the issues that matter to our families, I have lived them.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.