Many years ago in graduate school, I teamed up with a nice guy named Martin for a semester-long project. Smart guy with a dry sense of humor, family-focused, outdoorsy... "I'm running for City Council next year," he told me. And so he did, and he became a progressive voice on an Albuquerque Council that dealt with housing policy, community-based planning measures, living wage matters, and the like. We kept in touch over the years through local politics, and Martin (by that time Councilor Martin Heinrich) became a key ally of mine on a transit project I was working on in Albuquerque.
Fast-forward to one dark and stormy (not really... but felt that way) night in the spring of 2006, when I met a cute guy who was working on the congressional campaign of then-NM Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who was trying to unseat the wretched Heather Wilson (a nightmare of an elected official who'd held New Mexico's 1st District for far too long). That cute guy and I dated for months, through a tiring campaign for him and a lot of Big Life Questions for me. The election ended badly - a mind-numbing (weeeeeks long) recount that ended up naming incumbent Heather Wilson the winner by 879 votes. On the bright side, I eventually married the cute campaign worker, so there's that. ;-)
Fast-forward two more years to 2008: Guess who decided to run for the very same congressional seat that we so narrowly lost in 2006? You got it: my former classmate Martin, who by that time was Council President. By 2008, I was living in Dallas, but I helped out with Martin's campaign when I could, including flying back to Albuquerque to co-host a fundraiser (really an excuse to eat lots of green chile, but hey, 'twas for a good cause!). We eventually decided to spend Election Day 2008 in a place close to our hearts (sorry, Texas) and spent the day getting out the vote for Martin and Obama in Albuquerque's South Valley. That night was amazing - surrounded by people I love, seeing this absolutely historic presidential win, and cheering on a bright, young, dedicated progressive that I just happened to know as he was elected to Congress.
Had a Democrat won that seat in 2006, who knows what might have changed for Trevor and me... But she didn't win, and the loss was heartbreaking, and we moved to Dallas instead of DC, and a friend of mine won the seat in the very next election cycle instead. Funny, huh?
This is all backstory to introduce U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (D-NM). He was elected president of the 111th Congress' freshman Dems this year; he's been fighting the good fight since his arrival and making his New Mexico district (and me) proud. But guess why I'm chuckling about good 'ol Martin today? Because this just happened:
Ha ha ha... oh yes. That's "our" (I know I'm not in the NM-01 district anymore, but I consider myself honorary at this point) congressman, my former classmate, who was just named The Most Beautiful Person on Capitol Hill.
That, folks, is a happy ending* for everyone. ;-)
* just the beginning of Martin's fight for progressive values in Congress, mark my words... but "ending" for the sake of blog post closure and all