Fact Check: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s political ad

“It’s a real kickoff ad to start an election campaign,” said Dr. Lonna Atkeson, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico. “It’s classic that way.”

Lujan makes three major claims. The first states, “that’s why I work every day to lower prescription drug costs.”

Even though it’s uncertain if every day has been spent on this issue, the 4 Investigates Fact Check process deems that line accurate. Lujan’s voting record shows he has voted in favor of legislation that would have reduced the costs of prescription drugs, including the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Price Now Act.  Lujan voted to pass this legislation in December 2019.  It would have created caps on drug prices, including insulin. 

In early Fall, President Donald Trump indicated he favored this legislation and agreed to bipartisan cooperation, but when the U.S. House of Representatives impeached him, Trump withdrew his support.  That led to the republican-controlled U.S. Senate refusing to take up the bill after it passed the House.

Secondly, Lujan claims he works to “help veterans in rural communities get the benefits they’ve earned.”  That’s accurate.  Lujan’s voting record indicates sponsored the following legislation:

2020: PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act [HR 4305]

2020: VA Emergency Transportation Act [HR 3350]

2020: Housing Our Heroes Act [HR 2733]

2020: Ensuring Fair Access to Veterans Healthcare Act [HR 2707]

2020: Faster Care for Veterans Act [HR 4352]

2018: Bill to assist veteran farmers and ranchers access USDA services

2016: Amendment addressing doctor shortage at VA facilities

2016: Bill to raise the minimum wage for veterans attending school

2016: Bill to reauthorize rental assistance to homeless Native American veterans           

Lujan voted to pass the following legislation:

2020: PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act [HR 535]

2017: VA Choice and Quality Employment Act [S 114]

2014: Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act [HB 3230]

Lujan’s third claim is that he works to “protect the water that’s the lifeblood of our communities.”  That’s accurate.  Lujan’s voting record shows that he has worked on legislation that would have allowed New Mexicans to receive federal funds to maintain rural ditches.  He also worked to create funding to clean up the PFAS contamination near Holloman and Cannon Air Force Bases.  PFAS is a dangerous chemical found in fire retardant used by the Air Force for decades.  The chemicals seeped into the ground and eventually into the groundwater.  Holloman Lake near Alamogordo is so polluted with PFAS contamination, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas advised New Mexicans in 2019 to stay away.

Lujan never mentions Ronchetti in this ad.  Ronchetti has not yet purchased television media for his general election race.  Once he does, his ad will also be subject to a 4 Investigates Fact Check.