1928-1929 Octaviano Larrazolo - First Hispanic American U.S. Senator


1928-1929 Octaviano Larrazolo - First Hispanic American U.S. Senator


Octaviano Larrazolo was the first Hispanic to serve in the United States Senate and was in office during the Seventieth Congress 12/07/ 1928 – 03/03/1929. He was born (1859) in Allende in the Mexican state of Chihuahua (1859), where he lived until he was eleven years old. J.B. Salpoint, a French-born Bishop of Arizona, took Larrazolo to Arizona (1870) and instructed him in theology. When Reverend Salpoint moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico (1875), Larrazola accompanied him, and completed his studies at St. Michael's College there (1877). That same year he began a career as an educator, teaching in Tucson for a year before moving to San Elizaro, Texas, where he worked as a principal for seven years.

Larrazolo's interests in politics led him to become active in the Democratic Party and in 1885 Larrazolo was appointed clerk of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts at El Paso. A year later he was elected clerk of the 34th District Court at El Paso and was re-electedthe following year. While he worked as a court clerk, he studied law with one of the judges and he was admitted to the Texas bar in 1888. Two years later he was elected state attorney for Texas' Western District; he subsequently was reelected for one more term. In 1895 Larrazolo moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico and opened a law office. From 1900 to 1908 he ran three times as the Democratic Party candidate for the position of Territorial Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, but was defeated each time.

When the New Mexican Constitutional Convention met (1910), although Larrazolo was not present, he was influential in helping write strong provisions into the Constitution that guaranteed protection of the Spanish-speaking voters from disfranchisement and discrimination on account of language or racial descent. A year later he resigned from the Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party because the State Convention of the Democratic Party had denied his request that one-half of all statewide nominees be Hispanic to represent the sixty percent of the population of New Mexico that was Hispanic. He was elected Governor of New Mexico and while in office, enacted laws that created the Girls' Welfare Home, the Child Welfare Board, and the State Health Board.

Larrazolo position on the income tax bill at the time became a point of contention between him and the Republican Party. In his effort to strengthen the income tax law, he lost support from Republicans. He also supported the women's suffrage amendment. This alienated both Republicans and some of his Hispanic supporters. In 1922 the Republican Party did not re-nominate him for governor. In 1927 and 1928 he served in the New Mexico House of Representatives and a year later was elected to fill the unexpired term of Democratic Senator Andieus A. Jones, who had died in office. While in the Senate, Larrazolo served on the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, Public Surveying Committee, and the Territories and Insular Affairs Committees. He fell ill and served only six months before he returned to Albuquerque where he died on April 7, 1930.






Octaviano Larrazolo: 1859-1930

Source: U.S. Library of Congress - Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995



Library of Congress


Library of Congress


Library of Congress


Medium: Photograph












Unknown, 1928-1929 Octaviano Larrazolo - First Hispanic American U.S. Senator, Library of Congress, 1919

Cite As

Unknown, “1928-1929 Octaviano Larrazolo - First Hispanic American U.S. Senator,” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed August 20, 2022, https://vmps.omeka.net/items/show/84.