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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Roundhouse » Deaths cast a pall over Monday at the legislature

Deaths cast a pall over Monday at the legislature

News over the weekend hung over Monday at the legislative session.

Both chambers held moments of silence for both the five victims of a shooting in the South Valley, former Senate Majority Leader Fabian Chavez, Jr. and Tanna Romero, the wife of ambassador Ed Romero.

The shooting of five in the South Valley included members of former state Sen. Eric Griego’s family. It was Griego’s nephew who allegedly shot Griego’s brother, sister-in-law and three of their children. Even without this, it would have been the talk of the legislature, but with the immediacy of Griego’s family involved it hit even closer to home for many.

(As an aside, I recommend checking out ABQJournal.com and KOB.com for the latest — those are the two places I have been looking at frequently to find the latest new on the tragic event)

The shooting will likely be brought up during debates over gun control throughout the session — but there was none of that on Monday, as instead the official acknowledgement was restricted to mentions during the invocations and moments of silence in each chamber.

Fabian Chavez, Jr. had not been in the legislature for decades but his presence was still known in New Mexico’s politics; he was the youngest Senate Majority Leader in the state’s history. After unsuccessful runs for higher office, he still worked in the public interest. And, Steve Terrell writes, he was still a frequent presence in the Roundhouse for years.

Chavez, until just a few years ago, was frequently seen around the state Capitol, especially during legislative sessions. He often came by my office just to yack about politics. Back in 2009 he came by my office to express concern about the future of the Democratic Party. He was worried about all the corruption cases involving prominent state Democrats, saying if the party didn’t move quick to act against corruption, it would seriously wound them at the polls.

On Monday, people throughout the Roundhouse recounted their experiences with Chavez throughout the years.

The Albuquerque Journal recounted the death of Tanna Romero, the wife of U.S. Ambassador to Spain Ed Romero. She passed away on Saturday.

Ed Romero met Tanna through a mutual friend in 1957. It took about three months for him to realize he was in love with her. He realized it while he was on a trip to California that was supposed to have lasted two weeks but was cut short to two days because Romero just had to get back and tell Tanna.

She laughed hysterically, Ed Romero said, when he confessed his love and declared that they would marry as soon as she fell in love with him.

One year, later they were wed. The couple had four children and 12 grandchildren — Tanna becoming the family confidant — and spent a life representing their country in Spain, founding several businesses, serving on numerous boards, volunteering and traveling.

All three events left an atypical pall over the Roundhouse on the short Monday session.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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