NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexicans are mourning the loss of a long-time lawmaker who served in the state legislature for more than four decades. Democrat Nick Salazar was first elected in 1973 representing parts of Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba, and San Miguel counties, and didn’t retire until 2018. He is credited with his work on behalf of New Mexico’s seniors including sponsoring the creation of the Aging and Long Term Services Department. He was 91-years-old.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released the following statement on Salazar’s passing:
Representative Salazar was an exemplary public servant. He represented Northern New Mexico, but all New Mexicans benefited from his service. Whether it was through his advocacy for New Mexico seniors and their well-being, his support for our national laboratories or the resources he delivered for Native American communities, he demonstrated over the course of more than 40 years as a member of the Legislature that he understood the needs of workers and families in our state.
Personally, I considered Nick to be something of a father figure. He believed in me and mentored me and so many others. He was instrumental in establishing the Indian Area Agency on Aging and he sponsored the creation of the Aging and Long-Term Services Department. As its first secretary, when I thought I knew everything there was to know about New Mexico seniors, he generously guided me, helped me grow and find new ways to deliver for them. He knew innately how to reach people. He was kind, he was tenacious and he was a gentleman. I will miss him so very much, and I know his colleagues in the Legislature will, too. My thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones, and I pray that his memory is a blessing for them.
Attorney General Hector Balderas also released the following statement Friday regarding the passing of Salazar:
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Representative Nick Salazar, a friend and great leader who leaves a legacy of service that strengthened Northern New Mexico and many rural communities across the State.