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Octaviano Larrazolo: A Featured Biography


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In 1928 Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo was elected to fill the unexpired term of New Mexico senator Andrieus A. Jones, who had died in office. Upon taking his seat on December 7 of that year, he became the first Hispanic American to serve in the United States Senate. Larrazolo, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on December 7, 1859, was known as a gifted orator and a champion of civil rights. A former teacher and principal, he was devoted to achieving equality in education for Spanish-speaking Americans. At the 1910 New Mexico constitutional convention, Larrazolo was instrumental in securing the inclusion of a provision recognizing the Spanish language for use in conducting public business. His commitment to ensuring equal citizenship rights for Hispanics led to his break with New Mexico’s Democratic Party in 1911. In 1918 he was elected as a Republican to the office of governor of New Mexico. His brief three-month service in the Senate 10 years later opened the doors for other Hispanic Americans.