Ben Luján

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Ben Luján
21st Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives
In office
2002–2012
Succeeded by W. Ken Martinez
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
from the 46th district
In office
1975–2012
Personal details
Born (1935-07-12)July 12, 1935
Nambé Pueblo, New Mexico
Died December 18, 2012(2012-12-18) (aged 77)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ben Luján, Sr. (July 12, 1935 – December 18, 2012) was an American politician from New Mexico.[1][2] A Democrat, he was the Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives. He served in the State House from 1975 through 2012. He was elected as Speaker beginning in 2001, serving until his death in office.[3] His legislative district, the 46th, was composed mostly of Santa Fe.[4]

Biography[edit]

Ben Luján was born to Nestora and Celedon Luján on July 12, 1935 in the Nambé Pueblo. His brothers were Ramos, Gustavo and Nestor; and sisters, Olivama and Josie.[5] Their father was a sheepherder and was one of the first laborers recruited for the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.[5] Lujan's family were Mexican, descendants of colonial settlers in the area long before it was part of the United States.

Although he had hoped to be the first in his family to go to college, Luján had to leave because finances were tight and go to work. Before Luján entered politics, he was an iron worker and a contractor for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

He married Carmen Ray and had a family with her, including daughters Shirley and Jackie, and sons Jerome and Ben Ray Luján.

In 1970, the senior Luján entered politics, being elected to the Santa Fe County Commission. In 1974 he was elected to the New Mexico State House. He served succeeding terms for decades, and in all three leadership positions: as Majority Whip, Majority Floor Leader, and as the second longest-serving Speaker of the House until his death in 2012.[6][5]

Luján died of cancer in 2012, aged 77.[6] His children and grandchildren accompanied him in his last days.

Legacy[edit]

  • His son Ben Ray Luján also went into politics, being elected as a US Congressman from New Mexico.
  • After the senior Luján's death, his family set up the Speaker Ben Lujan Scholarship Memorial Fund, as he believed strongly in education.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Nash, Kate (2006-12-19). "Dems keep Lujan as head of House". The Albuquerque Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-02-04. 
  4. ^ "State House Speaker Ben Luján succumbs to lung cancer". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2012-12-19. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d Obituary: Speaker Ben Lujan, Legacy.com; accessed 20 July 2016
  6. ^ a b [3]