Reaction to Speaker Lujan's death pours in at Capitol

Posted at: 12/19/2012 12:12 PM
Updated at: 12/19/2012 12:18 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Ben Lujan
Photo: Ben Lujan

We are getting reaction Wednesday to the death of New Mexico House of Representatives Speaker Ben Lujan.

He died late Tuesday at a Santa Fe hospital after battling lung cancer for two years.

Lujan, who represented Santa Fe, was House speaker for 12 years before publicly announcing his illness last January.

Lujan was 77 - he had served in the state House since 1975 in a variety of leadership positions.

Other political players were quick to respond to Lujan's death at the Roundhouse Wednesday.

"Well I'm very sad today," said former Governor Bill Richardson.

"He was a giant in New Mexico politics and government and probably the best legislator New Mexico ever had. He was also a very good simple guy who cared about the little people."

Lujan himself was a little guy physically, but he was an enormous force in the legislature and in state politics.

His spouse, children and grandchildren were with him when he died.

Funeral arrangements are not yet final.

One of Lujan's survivors is his son, Ben Ray Lujan, who represents New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District.

House majority speaker Ken Martinez was nominated to fill Lujan's position last week. He represents parts of Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties.

His nomination can't be finalized until the legislature starts up again in January.

Watch our evening newscasts tonight for more reaction to Lujan's passing.