Remembering a New Mexico legend, Pete Domenici

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Wednesday Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the Senate floor on the passing of former Senator Pete Domenici.

McConnell said of Pete Domenici that he was a dear friend and colleague with a long and notable career from pitching on a baseball diamond to teaching mathematics – from city politics to the U.S. Senate. When Domenici ran for senator in 1972 he became the first Republican elected from New Mexico in nearly four decades. When he retired, he did so as the longest running senator in the state.

McConnell noted that the years he served with Domenici he came to know him as “a smart, hard working, dedicated and a very strong advocate from his home state, New Mexico.”

Governor Susana Martinez issued the following statement:

This is a sad day for all New Mexicans. Senator Domenici was a dedicated statesman who always put New Mexico first. His devotion to our state was evident throughout his lengthy career. He tirelessly advocated for a better future for all New Mexico, from our labs and military bases to infrastructure and our innovation centers. Senator Domenici was also a champion of higher education, pioneering the Domenici Public Policy Conference which, even today, brings national leaders in government and innovation to New Mexico to help guide future generations of policymakers. While we mourn Senator Domenici’s loss, we celebrate his legacy as a champion for New Mexico and our nation. There is no doubt generations of New Mexicans have a brighter future with more opportunity because of Senator Domenici’s tireless work. I ask all New Mexicans to join Chuck and me in extending our deepest sympathies to the Domenici family

Senator Heinrich issued the following statement:

I join all New Mexicans in mourning the passing of our former Senator Pete Domenici. Senator Domenici dedicated his entire life to the state and people he loved. His decades of service to New Mexico left a lasting impact that will continue to be felt in every corner of our state for years to come. I am grateful for the example Senator Domenici set on how to advance important and complex policy goals in Washington with civility. Republicans and Democrats alike who worked with him on issues like the budget, energy, defense, and behavioral health still point to his dedication to improving the lives of those he served through bipartisan cooperation and compromise. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Nancy, and all of his family and loved ones during this time of great loss.

Senator Udall issued the following statement:

Jill and I were very saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Pete Domenici this morning, and we send our deepest sympathies to his family. Senator Domenici is a legend in New Mexico politics, and though he will be sorely missed, his impact will be felt in the state – and the nation – for generations to come. While we sat on different sides of the political aisle, I admired Pete’s dedication to the well-being of all of New Mexico. He will be remembered for his meaningful contribution on so many issues – especially fiscal responsibility and the federal budget, energy policy and New Mexico’s national labs, free trade, and his personal and heartfelt dedication to ensuring parity in the health care system for those suffering from mental illness.

But what I admire most about Pete is that during his over 30 years representing the state of New Mexico in the Senate, he always kept New Mexicans first. It’s partly thanks to him that the New Mexico congressional delegation continues a tradition of working together regardless of party – we need more of that in Congress today. Pete dedicated his life to digging into the complex public policy issues important to our state – from Native American issues to water policy to nuclear energy. Even after he retired, he kept working to make New Mexico a better place for everyone.

On a personal note, I appreciate that Pete was always available to me as a resource. Please join Jill and me in keeping Senator Domenici and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement:

It is with a heavy heart today that we say goodbye to a man that single handedly transformed the state of New Mexico. Senator Dominici was a powerful voice for all New Mexicans and went above and beyond for the people and families who call the land of enchantment home. I had the great privilege of working closely with Senator Dominici over the years and fostered a relationship with him as a friend, mentor, and leader. He didn’t hesitate to put every single New Mexican before himself and fought tirelessly to make sure opportunities for a better life were available to all. He was a titan – a fighter – and his work for the wellness and prosperity of New Mexico will forever be remembered. There are no words that can ease the pain we share today, but together we can make sure his legacy lives on.

Congressmen Ben Ray Luján issued the following statement:

I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Pete Domenici, New Mexico’s longest-serving senator. From his start as the Chairman of Albuquerque City Commission, now known as the Mayor of  Albuquerque, Pete Domenici fought passionately for the things he believed in and the people he represented. Senator Domenici was a formidable figure who left a lasting mark on our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.

New Mexico House Republican Leader Nate Gentry issued the following statement:

I was devastated to hear of Senator Domenici’s passing earlier this morning. As we reflect on Senator Domenici’s incredible legacy, we should also recall his willingness to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to improve the condition of our state and nation. Our country would be a better place if more public officials took Senator Domenici’s approach to governing. We have lost a legendary statesman today. My thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the entire Domenici family.

Attorney General Hector Balderas issued the following statement:

I was saddened to learn of Senator Domenici’s passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We are grateful for his decades of service to our state.

Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver issued the following statement:

Senator Pete Domenici dedicated his life to public service and always represented New Mexicans with class. I am sad to hear he is no longer with us, and I will be keeping his loved ones in my thoughts today.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn issued the following statement:

Today we mourn the loss of a fellow New Mexican, a patriot, and a devoted statesman.  Sen. Domenici loved New Mexico and genuinely cared for the welfare of each and every citizen.  He was a bold and fearless leader and served us and the nation with dignity, compassion, and benevolence.  Sen. Domenici was also a long-time family friend and worked closely with my father, state Sen. Aubrey Dunn Sr.  He was a friend of the State Land Office and offered his unwavering support on education policy and land and water issues.   I offer my deepest condolences to the Domenici family and the people of New Mexico.

Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi issued the following statement:

The Republican Party of New Mexico offers their deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Senator Pete Domenici. Senator Domenici’s love and dedication to our state and country was unparalleled. We will always honor the progress and success of Senator Domenici’s legacy, not only for the Republican Party of New Mexico, but also for our wonderful state. We owe him and his family a huge debt of gratitude.

Republican Party of New Mexico National Committeewoman Rosie Tripp issued the following statement:

Senator Pete Domenici was a true statesman who loved everyone and cherished his service to all New Mexicans. He will forever be remembered as our friend, as a great Republican, and a champion of our values. Sen. Domenici’s passing is a great loss to New Mexico and we are keeping Nancy and the entire Domenici family in our thoughts and prayers.

Republican Party of New Mexico National Committeeman Harvey Yates issued the following statement:

Pete Domenici was a great man. His concern was for the wellbeing of the nation and for the advancement of New Mexico. He was a man who moved forward with civility. My prayers are for him and his family.

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Richard Ellenberg released the following statement: 

Senator Pete Domenici’s long term service to New Mexico put our state in a position of power in Washington D.C. Though he sat on the other side of the aisle, he understood the role government could play in bolstering our state’s economy and he kept New Mexico’s interests in mind. We are sad to hear of his passing and send our condolences to the Domenici family.

New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf released the following statement: 

“New Mexico has lost a tremendous leader today.  Senator Pete Domenici’s legacy of bipartisanship can be seen all over the state of New Mexico.  From his focus on strengthening our national labs, to his tireless advocacy for behavioral health services, his no-nonsense, bipartisan approach always put New Mexico first.  On behalf of the New Mexico House of Representatives, we express our heartfelt condolences to all of his family and friends.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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