Ben Ray Luján (born June 7, 1972) is an American politician serving as the junior United States senator from New Mexico since 2021. He served as the U.S. representative for New Mexico's 3rd congressional district from 2009 to 2021 and the assistant House Democratic leader (officially the "Assistant Speaker") from 2019 to 2021. He served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008, where he also served as chairman.
Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised in Nambé Pubelo, New Mexico, he graduated from Pojoaque Valley High School in Santa Fe before attending the University of New Mexico and earning a B.B.A. from New Mexico Highlands University. Luján was the Deputy State Treasurer and the Director of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer for the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department before being elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in November 2004. In this role, he helped to increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard in New Mexico that requires utilities to use 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and required utilities to diversify their renewable use to include solar, wind and biomass. He served as chairman of the ghroup from 2005 to 2007.
In 2008, Luján ran to succeed U.S. Representative Tom Udall in New Mexico's 3rd congressional district, winning the first of six terms in that body. Luján was selected as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2014 and led the Democrats to win a House majority in the 2018 elections. He was the first Hispanic to serve in this role. In his role as Assistant House Democratic Leader, Luján was the highest-ranking Latino in Congress. On April 1, 2019, Luján announced his intention to seek the United States Senate seat being vacated by two-term Democratic incumbent Tom Udall in the 2020 election, winning the seat in November 2020 and taking office the following January. Since first being elected to Congress in 2008, Senator Luján has championed efforts to create good-paying jobs in New Mexico, expand quality health care and protect patients with pre-existing conditions, preserve our natural resources and sacred sites, build a clean energy economy, and uplift the middle-class.