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Benigno C. Hernández

Benigno Hernández
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1915 – March 3, 1917
Preceded by William B. Walton
Succeeded by Nestor Montoya
In office
March 4, 1919 – March 3, 1921
Preceded by Harvey Fergusson
Succeeded by William B. Walton
Personal details
Born Taos, New Mexico
Died Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican

Benigno Cárdenas Hernández (February 14, 1862 – October 18, 1954) was the first Hispanic from New Mexico to serve as a full Member of Congress since New Mexico was granted statehood.


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Politics career 1.2
  • References 2
  • External links 3


Early years

Hernández was born in Taos, New Mexico, where he attended both public and private schools. As a young man he moved to Lumberton in Rio Arriba County, where he raised sheep. In 1882 he returned to Taos, where he worked as a store clerk. In 1888 he became a private merchant, and for the next few years lived in various communities in New Mexico. In 1893 he established a store in Lumberton and six years later he set up the headquarters for his business activities in Tierra Amarilla, the county seat for Rio Arriba County.

Politics career

In 1900 Hernández began his political career when he became probate clerk and recorder in Tierra Amarilla. In 1904 he was elected county sheriff of Rio Arriba County and served for two years. From 1908 to 1912 he served as county treasurer and tax collector. In 1912 he was appointed receiver in the State Land Office in Santa Fe. During his tenure as an elected county official, he also served as a delegate to numerous State Republican Conventions. He resigned from the Santa Fe post the following year and returned to his business.

In 1914 Hernández was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; he sought reelection in 1916, but was defeated by William B. Walton. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention that year, as he had been at the last one. In 1918 he came back to defeat Walton. During his tenure in Congress he served on the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Agriculture Committee, and the Committee on Public Lands. He showed a special interest in the construction of an infrastructure for New Mexico, including bridges, reservoirs, dams, and public buildings.

In 1921 Hernández completed his second term and returned to New Mexico. On April 22, 1921 President League of United Latin American Citizens.[1] During World War II he served on the Selective Service Board of New Mexico. In the early 1950s Hernández moved to Los Angeles, California, and died there at age ninety-two.

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harvey B. Fergusson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 1st congressional district

4 March 1915 – 3 March 1917
Succeeded by
William Bell Walton
Preceded by
William Bell Walton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 1st congressional district

4 March 1919 – 3 March 1921
Succeeded by
Néstor Montoya


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External links

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