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Updated: Thursday, 27 Dec 2012, 11:25 AM MST
Published : Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012, 4:00 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Speaker Ben Lujan passed away Tuesday evening after battling lung cancer. Now people from across New Mexico are expressing their condolences.
Governor Susana Martinez: Governor Susana Martinez issued the following statement after the passing of New Mexico House of Representatives Speaker Ben Lujan:
“Speaker Ben Lujan's service to New Mexico spanned four decades and his legacy will live for years to come. He fought for causes near and dear to New Mexicans from all walks of life and guided the House of Representatives through some of the most important debates in our state’s history. Speaker Lujan’s story was one that embodied the New Mexican dream and the American dream. The son of a sheepherder, he made his living as an ironworker at Los Alamos before running for office and rising to one of the most prominent and powerful positions in the state. Chuck and I join all New Mexicans in offering our thoughts and prayers to Speaker Lujan's wife, Carmen, his children, and his entire family during this trying time.”
New Mexico House Majority Leader Ken Martinez:
“I have had the honor of working closely with Speaker Ben Lujan in the New Mexico House of Representatives for the past fourteen years, and have known him and his family even longer. It is with a heavy heart that I express my condolences to Carmen, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and the extended Lujan family at this very difficult time.
“Speaker Lujan has left a tremendous legacy of fighting for New Mexico’s working families and was a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable in our communities—the poor, the laborer, the immigrant community and our brothers and sisters in the tribes and pueblos. One of his proudest accomplishments was removing the regressive tax on food, which benefited countless New Mexicans.
We formed a close bond the last six years trying to move our state forward and I always admired his compassion for people, his tenacity in pursing his policy objectives, and treasured his friendship. His leadership in the House taught me so much, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.
Congresswoman-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham: Congresswoman-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham released the following statement today in response to the passing of New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan:
“The passing of Speaker Lujan is a personal loss for me because he was a mentor who always encouraged me and reminded me to remember that we work for our constituents. Speaker Lujan cared deeply for New Mexico's families. My deepest sympathies go out to Carmen and the entire family.”
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman:
“On this sad day, I join with all New Mexicans in expressing my condolences to the family of Speaker Ben Lujan. While we mourn our loss, we should be grateful for his extraordinary work for the people of New Mexico. We have been fortunate to have had a man of his character serving our State in such an exemplary way and in such an important position for so many years.”
PNM Chairman, President and CEO: PNM issues the following statement regarding the passing last night of Speaker Ben Lujan:
“Our thoughts are with the family of Speaker Lujan during this time of loss,” said Pat Collawn, PNM Resources chairman, president and CEO. “He made a lasting impact on our state, providing leadership to move New Mexico forward on many important initiatives, from programs to assist the less fortunate to expansion of renewable energy through adoption of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. He will be missed.”
U.S. Senator Tom Udall: U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) issued the following statement today on the passing of Speaker Ben Luján:
"Our state lost a great leader, and a great friend, yesterday with the passing of Speaker Ben Luján. For over four decades, Ben was a tireless advocate for the people of New Mexico. Ben was a dedicated public servant, and even a devastating illness could not deter him from the job he had committed to do. He remained steadfast in his service to the people of our state, and he was an inspiration to all who knew him.
"Ben came of age in the Great Depression. He knew poverty and hard times first hand. He never forgot where he came from, and he was always a champion for the less fortunate among us. He was a tenacious fighter for education, for workers, for Native Americans, and for health care. His principles illuminated his life, and brightened the lives of all who knew him.
"Ben once said, 'Let us make our time on Earth… worthwhile, and do what’s right, and make a difference for the children, our working families, and our elderly.' He lived up to that challenge throughout his life, and he leaves behind a remarkable legacy of service to New Mexico. I was proud to call Ben Luján my colleague and my friend. Jill and I will miss Ben. We extend our deepest condolences to Carmen, and to Shirley, Jackie, Jerome, and Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and all the Luján family."
U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce: U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following
statement on the passing of New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan:
“The entire Lujan family, including my colleague Ben Ray Lujan, are in my thoughts and prayers today. Speaker Ben Lujan will live on through his decades of service to New Mexico.”
Governor Bill Richardson:
Ben Lujan was a giant in New Mexico politics and goverment. He will go down in history as nm greatest speaker. His legislative contributions were farreaching as he authored major legislation on health care education roads and taxes. He singlehandedly ushered the end of the onerous food tax and lowered taxes for every New Mexican.
I spoke to the Speaker on thursday and Barbara and I were planning to visit him and Carmen at his home in Pojoaque today. Like a true gladiator he was fighting this disease with courage and conviction He made lives better for every New Mexican and we will miss him. -Governor Bill Richardson
Bernalillo County Commission Chair Art De La Cruz: Bernalillo County Commission Chair Art De La Cruz today issued a statement on the passing of New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan.
“Ben Lujan worked day and night to make New Mexico a better place for all of us,” Commission Chair Art De La Cruz says. “He stood up for what he believed in as a champion for public schools, teachers, seniors and those less fortunate. New Mexico and Bernalillo County will miss his even-handed leadership.
“However, his legacy continues today through legislation that helps working families. Ben Lujan believed in the democratic process and is a great example of leadership in tough times.”
State Land Commissioner Ray Powell: Commissioner Ray Powell expressed his condolences today to the family of House Speaker Ben Lujan, who succumbed to cancer last night.
“With the passing of Speaker Ben Lujan, New Mexico has lost one of its most dedicated public servants,” said State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. “For nearly four decades Speaker Lujan represented not only his district but the aspirations of all working New Mexicans who wanted better jobs, health care and education for their families. Speaker Lujan will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Commissioner Powell said that Speaker Lujan will be remembered as a champion of the common man as his enduring legacy.