Wednesday, December 19, 2012

R.I.P. Speaker Ben Lujan

Ben Ray, Carmen and Speaker Lujan
Speaker Lujan with his wife Carmen
and son Ben Ray Lujan
New Mexico House Speaker Ben Luján died late Tuesday following a lengthy struggle with lung cancer.

His longtime chief of staff Regis Pecos said Lujan died St. Vincent Hospital, where he had been admitted Sunday with respirator problems. He was with his wife Carmen Luján, his son Congressman Ben Ray Luján and other family members, Pecos said.

"I think he was waiting for his grandson to arrive," Pecos said. His grandson Dominic Valdexz is a soldier stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Luján, a Democrat from Nambé, announced early this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election for another term because of his medical condition. He has been House speaker since 2001.

House Democrats recently nominated Rep. Kenny Martinez of Grants to become the next speaker.