Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995
Pedro Perea had a notable political career like many other members of his family, including his cousin, Francisco Perea, who also served as Territorial Delegate to the U.S. Congress. Pedro Perea was born on April 22, 1852, in Bernalillo, Sandoval County, New Mexico. He attended St. Michael's College in Santa Fe, and graduated from St. Louis University in Missouri in 1871.
Upon his return to New Mexico, he engaged in agricultural and ranching pursuits, such as farming, fruit growing, and sheep raising. He also became active in politics. He was a serious contender for the position of Territorial Governor, filled by Presidential appointment. According to historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell, Perea did not get the position because his supporter, Virginia Senator Stephen B. Elkins, who had served as a Delegate from New Mexico from 1873 to 1877, failed to keep an appointment with President McKinley and the Secretary of the Interior, Cornelius N. Bliss.
Perea was president of the First National Bank of Santa Fe from 1890 to 1894. He also served as a member of the council of the New Mexico Legislature in 1889, 1891, and 1895. He was elected Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1898 and served for one term, but was not renominated in 1901. While in Congress, aside from the usual business of the day, such as requiring confirmation of land grants and responding to requests of relief or pensions for constituents, Perea introduced a resolution to protect some ancient Indian ruins that rested on public land.
In 1905, after his service in Congress, Perea was appointed Territorial Insurance Commissioner by Governor Miguel Otero, Jr., a position he held until his death in Bernalillo, New Mexico on January 11, 1906.