Soledad Chacon (1890-1936)

Soledad Chávez de Chacón of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the nation's first Hispanic woman to win a statewide election.   The daughter of Francisquita Baca de Chávez and Meliton Chávez, she could trace her ancestry to the Spanish conquistadors; New Mexico was first settled by an expedition of Mexican families in 1598. She was educated in Albuquerque's public schools and at age 20, married Ireneo Chacón, son of an author and educator and grandson of a politician.

   

When New Mexico women were enfranchised with the 19th Amendment in 1920, Chacón planned a successful campaign for secretary of state in 1922.  She won by margin of nearly 9,000 votes, making her the nation's first woman to hold this office.  Isabel Eckles also won her statewide race in the same year, but the office for which Eckles ran had many precedents in other states.  Within a decade, two other Hispanic women followed Chancon as secretary of state. She died prematurely at 46, and In 1996, historian Dan D. Chávez wrote her biography, Soledad Chávez Chacon: A New Mexico Political Pioneer, 1890-1936.