Rep. Stephen Easley, a freshman legislator who represented a state House district that included southeastern Santa Fe County, is dead, legislative sources have confirmed. He was 60.
Details of his death are not immediately known. Easley, who was vice chairman of a subcommittee on behavioral health, had been active in recent weeks trying to find answers in the controversy over the suspension of Medicaid funds for 14 mental health providers under investigation for possible fraud.
A native of Indiana, Easley was married and had two grown daughters. On his Facebook page, a nephew, Mark Easley wrote, “He was a good man, kind and with a gentle heart he hid under snide humor during my childhood. … He was my Dad’s cohort and fellow adventurer. He was an explorer and a scientist. He was a loyal husband and father. He embraced new cultures and new lands far from his Indiana home and furthered the Easley name to new arenas.”
Easley, a Democrat who lived in Eldorado, was elected last year to represent District 50, which stretches into Bernalillo, Torrance and Valencia Counties. He quickly became known as a progressive Democrat
Before moving to Santa Fe, Easley served as an elected city commissioner in Alamogordo.
With a PhD in biological anthropology, Easley had worked as a university professor, later moving into the information technology industry and forming his own company.
Easley also worked for seven years in ex-Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration in a series of posts, including as deputy chief information officer.
During his time in Santa Fe, he served for eight years on the executive committee and board of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp., the nonprofit that manages the Santa Fe Railyard on behalf of the city of Santa Fe.
Here's a video of Easley made by House Democrats early this year. House Speaker Ken Martinez sent the link to this in a statement about Easley's death.