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|Gutierrez has symbolically worn a mask in Congress "as a symbol of the many the current party structure treats as a faceless, ignored mass."|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Mexico's 2nd district|
|Preceded by||None-dstrict created|
|Born|| October 3rd, 1935|
Albuqerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||Patrice Lumumba University, Moscow, USSR|
|Religion||Catholic (liberation theology)|
Cuchilla Zapata Gutierrez is the current member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving for New mexico's 2nd District, having represented the district since its creation in 1970. A vociferous activist for Hispanic and Native American causes, Gutierrez has proven a vicious critic of both the Democratic and Republican parties (despite her membership in the former) and has been the cause of major controversies during her congressional tenure, such as refusing to swear the Pledge of Allegiance at her inauguration, being accused of spying for the KGB, and reportedly consuming peyote during a filibuster.
Gutierrez attempted to be ordained as a priest in hers 20s but was rejected because of the Catholic ban on the ordination of women; she became associated with left-wing Catholic groups in South America and worked for the Salvador Allende government as a liaison with the Catholic Church for several years, bringing her to the attention of the Soviet government, who enrolled her in Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Here she attained a degree in ecology, specializing in dry-land ecology, working in Uzbekistan. She returned to the United States in the 1950s and worked with ranchers and farmers in New Mexico on anti-desertification and irrigation development, also working in union organizing. She was also widely suspected of being involved in covert marijuana cultivation and certainly acquired a considerable fortune through unclear mechanisms. When New Mexico's congressional districts were reorganized in 1969, she ran for Congress in the 2nd District, unexpectedly defeating several better-financed Democratic primary challengers based on strong community ties and winning the general election by a narrow 2% margin against a weak Republican candidate. She was reelected in 1974 and 78, each time with steadily increasing margins of victory.