SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Within the Roundhouse, history is being made. For the first time in New Mexico, women are the majority members in the House of Representatives. Out of 70 State Representatives, women now make up 37 of them.
“It’s exciting to see what’s happening and I truly believe that women get more done,” said Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R- Los Lunas). “We have passion about the bills we carry, we fight for them and we’re very deliberate on the bills we present, so I’m excited about it and excited to work more with women.”
“Obviously I’m very excited, I’m very happy that New Mexican voters trust women to make decisions that are affecting their families whether that’s jobs, education, healthcare,” said Rep. Georgene Louis (D- Bernalillo). “I love that they’re listening to women so that now we are providing our skills and experiences to these conversations.”
Twenty-eight women are Democrats, followed by eight Republicans and one Independent. Women in the household key positions like the Majority Floor Leader, Whip, and caucus chairs. Women are also chairs and vice-chairs of House committees. KRQE News 13 asked professors and political analysts what this means to have the majority of members being female.
“The research on this is pretty clear: you tend to have much more compromise, a much more civil approach to policymaking with a greater number of women so when you get to that critical threshold, you should expect to see different outcomes,” said University of New Mexico Political Scientist, Gabe Sanchez.
“It brings in new perspectives to the debate,” said Georgetown University Professor on Women and Politics, Michele Swers. “Over what are problems in the first place and how to look at different angles and views of particular problems.”
Researchers who have studied women in legislative roles said they are more likely to prioritize issues related to women, like paid family leave, childcare, and even abortion.
To this day, there has never been a female Speaker in the New Mexico House, but women have still come a long way. Just ten years ago, the Roundhouse finally built a women’s bathroom nearby the House member’s lounge.
UNM’s Political Scientist Gabe Sanchez said that New Mexico is also one of the leaders in the nation for the number of female judges sitting on the bench.