Nov. 6, 2012 – 11:29 p.m.

113th Congress: Michelle Lujan Graham, D-N.M. (1st District)

Like many other candidates this cycle, Michelle Lujan Grisham says her top priority upon entering Congress will be creating jobs.

“I identify with the struggles that middle class families are facing,” says Lujan Grisham, who is not related to Rep. Ben Ray Luján, another New Mexico Democrat. “These families don’t want excuses from politicians. They want a leader like me with a record of getting things done.”

But it’s not surprising, given her nearly two decades spent heading New Mexico’s Aging Agency and its Health Department, that Lujan Grisham is interested in strengthening the 2010 health care overhaul.

She’d relish an assignment to the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on health care or the Energy and Commerce Committee, both of which have jurisdiction over the issue.

Lujan Grisham, an admirer of President Franklin Roosevelt and former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, describes herself “a strong progressive Democrat who is able to work effectively in a bipartisan manner without compromising my core values.”

“I am a hard-charging, aggressive advocate for people who do not otherwise have a voice in government,” she says.

Widowed in 2004, Lujan Grisham and her elderly mother live together in Albuquerque’s North Valley, along with a menagerie of animals that she says “currently includes my dogs, a cat and 15 chickens.”