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Howie Morales
Lt. Governor Presiding in the Senate (cropped).jpg
30th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
GovernorMichelle Lujan Grisham
Preceded byJohn Sanchez
Member of the New Mexico Senate
from the 28th district
In office
January 9, 2008 – January 1, 2019
Preceded byBen D. Altamirano
Succeeded byGabriel Ramos[1]
Personal details
Born (1973-01-05) January 5, 1973 (age 49)
Silver City, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Teresa Arizaga
EducationWestern New Mexico
(BS, MA)
New Mexico State University (PhD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Henry C. "Howie" Morales (born January 5, 1973)[2] is an American politician and educator serving as the 30th lieutenant governor of New Mexico. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the New Mexico State Senator from the 28th district, which includes Catron County, Grant County and Socorro County, from 2008 until 2019.

Early life and education

Morales was raised in Silver City, New Mexico. His father was a copper miner and his mother was a school education assistant.[3] Morales worked as a shoe salesman to help support his family.[3]

Morales earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in bilingual special education from Western New Mexico University.[3][4] In 2007,[3] he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in curriculum and instruction (with an emphasis of computer learning technologies and management and leadership) from New Mexico State University.[4]


Early career

Howie Morales Stadium, Bayard, New Mexico
Howie Morales Stadium, Bayard, New Mexico

Morales was an educator at Grant County public schools before entering politics.[4] From 1995 to 2000, Morales was a special education teacher in Silver City; from 2000 to 2005, he was the special education and transition coordinator for the Cobre School District.[5] Morales was later an educator/administrator at Gila Regional Medical Center.[5] Morales is a long-serving volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Grant County.[5]

Morales was inducted into the New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in December 2017 in recognition of his successful career as a high school baseball coach.[6] Morales was a baseball coach at Silver High School and Cobre High School in Grant County, including being the youngest head coach in New Mexico to reach 200 wins. Morales retired in 2009 with a 203–49 coaching record.[6] Morales' team won a state title in 2008, and he coached his team as state runners-up in 2002, 2007, and 2009. He was also part of seven district championships and seven regional championships as a head coach. A baseball stadium in Bayard, New Mexico is named in his honor.[7]

Morales was a county clerk for Grant County.[4] Elected in 2004,[3] he served in that role from 2005 to 2008.[5]

New Mexico Senate

Morales in 2014
Morales in 2014

On December 27, 2007, New Mexico State Senator Ben D. Altamirano died of a heart attack. On January 9, 2008, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Morales to the vacant position that Altamirano held since 1971, on the recommendation of the Altamirano family.[8] Morales ran for the office that he was appointed to in the 2008 general elections and defeated Republican Joseph Gros, 9,561 to 4,019, to retain his seat.[9] He was reelected in 2012.[3] Morales became a hospital administrator after joining the Senate.[3]

In October 2013, Morales announced he would run for governor in the 2014 New Mexico gubernatorial election.[10] Morales lost the five-way 2014 Democratic primary election, coming in fourth place: state Attorney General Gary King won the nomination with about 35% of the vote, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber received about 23%, Lawrence Rael received about 20%, Morales received about 14%, and Linda M. Lopez received about 8%.[11][12]

During his 11-year career in the New Mexico Senate, Morales was a member of the Legislative Finance Committee.[4] Morales sponsored legislation to create a universal, state-level single-payer healthcare system for New Mexico.[13] Morales was an outspoken critic of the Martinez administration's education policies that emphasized standardized testing, and he opposed use of the PARCC assessment.[14] He spoke out frequently against cuts to public education.[15] Morales criticized the introduction of a teacher evaluation system that relied heavily on student performance on the new standardized test (PARCC) in the state's public schools, and he questioned the methodology of the A-to-F school grading system instituted by the Martinez administration.[16] In 2018 Morales sponsored legislation to substantially increase the tax on cigarettes, vaping and tobacco products in order to generate $89 million additional for public schools.[17] Legislation introduced by Morales in 2017 sought to create a new cabinet-level Early Childhood Services Department with oversight of already-existing early childhood education programs like home visiting and pre-kindergarten that are currently scattered through various state agencies.[18][19] On environmental policy, Morales staunchly opposed controversial federal plans to divert the Gila River in western New Mexico, often described as the last wild river in the West, and he pushed for alternatives to wholesale diversion.[20]

Lieutenant governor of New Mexico


In December 2017, Morales announced his candidacy for the office of the Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico.[21][22] Under the slogan "New Day for New Mexico," Morales called for policies to create more jobs and economic growth, stronger classrooms and student achievement, and strong protections of air, water and land.[23][24] He was endorsed by the Santa Fe New Mexican.[24]

On June 5, 2018, Morales defeated former Majority Leader of the New Mexico House of Representatives Rick Miera and Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett in the Democratic primary contest. Morales received 47.1% of the vote, and won all but three counties.[25][26]

In the November 6, 2018 general election, the Michelle Lujan/Morales ticket won election as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, winning 57.2% of the vote and defeating the Republican ticket of Steve Pearce and Michelle Garcia Holmes.[27]

Morales with Trishneet Arora, February 2019
Morales with Trishneet Arora, February 2019


As Lieutenant Governor, Howie Morales presides in meetings of the New Mexico Senate. In January 2019, Governor Lujan Grisham asked Morales to lead the state New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) for the first few weeks of the new administration until a permanent secretary was named.[28][29]

During that period, Lujan Grisham issued two executive orders eliminating future use of the PARCC standardized test.[30][31] Karen Trujillo, an educator and researcher, was named secretary at the end of January 2019.[32] Morales promoted Lujan Grisham's education policy.[33][34]

During his time in office, Howie Morales has championed more investments in quality afterschool learning [35][36] and early childhood education in New Mexico.[37][38]

Morales participates in the national Council of State Governments, serving as a co-chair of its Fiscal Health Subcommittee tasked with exploring policies that support resilient state budgets and the fiscal status and operations of states to ensure state governments are financially prepared for unexpected crises in the future.[39]

In 2020, Morales was a fellow of the Hunt-Kean Leadership program,[40] which brings together senior-level political leaders who have the knowledge, skill, and desire to be effective, equity-minded education policymakers at the state level.[41] He continues to regularly participate in their panels and discussions on early childhood education policy.[42] [43]


  1. ^ McKay, Dan (January 16, 2019). "Ramos appointed to NM Senate". Albuquerque Journal.
  2. ^ @GovMLG (January 6, 2019). "Join me in wishing @LtGovMorales a very happy birthday! New Mexico is lucky to have such a passionate educator and…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Milan Simonich, Morales bases approach on 'second-to-none' mentality, Santa Fe New Mexican (May 10, 2014).
  4. ^ a b c d e Lt. governor candidate Howie Morales, Albuquerque Journals (2018).
  5. ^ a b c d Howie Morales, Santa Fe New Mexican (May 8, 2014).
  6. ^ a b "Sen. Morales is inducted into New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame". Silver City Sun-News. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  7. ^ "Indian Baseball Tournament is under way at Howie Morales Stadium". Silver City Sun-News. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  8. ^ "Morales a nominee to finish Altamirano's term," El Defensor Chieftain, retrieved online on December 21, 2008
  9. ^ "Democrats run the table in Grant County," Silver City Daily Press, Online Edition, retrieved on December 21, 2008 Silver City Daily Press, "Democrats run the table in Grant County".
  10. ^ Milan Simonich. "Morales bases approach on 'second-to-none' mentality". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  11. ^ Writer, James Monteleone. "Gary King wins gov primary". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  12. ^ OFFICIAL RESULTS  Primary - June 3, 2014, New Mexico Secretary of State.
  13. ^ "Health Security Act NM's Single Payer Plan". Retake Our Democracy. February 5, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  14. ^ Morales, Guest Columnist Sen Howie. "It's time to end PARCC testing of state students". El Defensor Chieftain. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  15. ^ "No more cuts to New Mexico classrooms". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  16. ^ T. S. Last (November 21, 2013). "Teachers protest reforms". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  17. ^ Andrew Oxford. "Lawmakers to consider cigarette tax increase". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  18. ^ "Legislator seeks to consolidate early childhood education programs". New Mexico In Depth. February 23, 2017.
  19. ^ S.B. 106 (New Mexico 2017).
  20. ^ Paskus, Laura (January 31, 2018). "Southwest water bill would shift funding from Gila River diversion". The NM Political Report. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  21. ^ "District 28 Senator Howie Morales will run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018". Silver City Sun-News. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  22. ^ Scott Turner. "Morales focused on jobs, schools, health care". El Defensor Chieftain. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  23. ^ "New Mexico Senator Howie Morales stumps in Luna County during race for Lt. Governor". The Deming Headlight. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Auditor, lieutenant governor and land commissioner: Colón, Morales and VeneKlasen". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  25. ^ "New Mexico Election Results". Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew; Lee, Jasmine C. (June 5, 2018). "New Mexico Primary Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  27. ^ "New Mexico Secretary of State".
  28. ^ Dan Boyd (January 17, 2019). "'Multitasking' lieutenant governor blazing a new path". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  29. ^ "Redefining The Office: Morales adds visibility to lieutenant governor's role". Silver City Daily Press. January 19, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  30. ^ Dan Boyd & Shelby Perea (January 3, 2019). "Governor orders end to PARCC testing". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  31. ^ "Gov. kills PARCC test, Morales to lead Public Ed". Silver City Daily Press. January 4, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  32. ^ Dan Boyd (January 24, 2019). "Ex-teacher, researcher to lead PED". Albuquerque Journal.
  33. ^ Leggett, Shellye (January 22, 2019). "More money, less testing hopes to keep teachers in New Mexico". KOAT. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  34. ^ Morales, Howie (February 2, 2019). "Change at PED is good news for students and New Mexico". The NM Political Report. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  35. ^ Sagbakken, Howie Morales and May. "Learning happens in and out of the classroom". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  36. ^ Ulloa, Sylvia (October 21, 2019). "Lt. governor's next education frontier: out-of-school-time learning". New Mexico In Depth. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  37. ^ Groginsky, Lt Gov Howie Morales, ECECD Secretary Elizabeth. "Early childhood professionals are essential workers. Here's how we can support them". Carlsbad Current-Argus. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  38. ^ Morales, Howie. "New Early Childhood Education and Care Department will help lift New Mexico's children". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  39. ^ "FISCAL HEALTH – CSG Healthy States". Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  40. ^ "The Hunt Institute · Public Education Policy Initiatives and Legislation". The Hunt Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  41. ^ "Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows · The Hunt Institute". The Hunt Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  42. ^ Kelly, Lacy (May 29, 2020). "New Mexico ECECD Holds First Transition Committee Meeting in Partnership with The Hunt Institute · The Hunt Institute". The Hunt Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  43. ^ Governing Principals: Recruiting, Developing and Retaining the Early Childhood Workforce, retrieved July 13, 2022

External links

New Mexico Senate
Preceded by Member of the New Mexico Senate
from the 28th district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
This page was last edited on 14 July 2022, at 20:54
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