Thursday, January 19, 2012
NM Speaker of the House Ben Lujan: We should Never Give Up
One of those powerful touching human moments happened at the start of this NM Legislative session. When the collective body of leaders gathered and the gavel banged, the state stopped to listen to the life struggle of the New Mexico Speaker of the House Ben Lujan with stage 4 lung cancer. There was that short window of time when humans stop and consider our own mortality and the mortality of others. What are we here for, how can we be of service. This is infact the challenge the Speaker laid out for this 2012 session. Help others, the weak, the young the old.
Barb and I used to drive around and wander the back roads of Nambe. Just to get off of 285 usually, and wonder which dirt road led to the speakers house? Such humble roots and simplicity of life in Northern NM is awe inspiring to people like Barb from urban Chicago and myself from urban Boston. Yet here is the place where the Speaker of the Peoples House in New Mexico lives, plays, works, loves.
Carmen and Ben Lujan are the blue sky of NM, the light brown dirt, the shimmering gold cottonwoods, and the star filled night sky of New Mexico. I like the saying "God broke the mold after making that person." In this case it is not true God made a second person Ben Ray Lujan the son of Carmen and Ben in a similar mold of Ben Lujan, only maybe even better!
The Speaker says in his gentle voice, "Let us make our time on Earth, especially during this session worthwhile, and do what's right, and make a difference for the children, our working families, and our elderly."
The video above is via courtesy of NM infocus.
The text of Speaker Lujan's speech can be found here LujanSpeech.
In the Speakers closing remarks he states, " I wish each one of you my best wishes fora successful session and i look forward to working with all of you on behalf of people of our great state. Let's make this session a work of art, working in spirit of cooperation as we take the first step toward the next one hundred years. We should never give up, we must preserver in our pursuit to do good, male a difference and treat every man, woman, and child with respect and dignity."
Above is a picture of Speaker Ben Lujan at the 2008 DNC Convention. Every day, every week, every month, every year matters.
There were a number of heart felt press releases regarding Speaker Ben Lujan's announcement at the start of the 2012 session, they are included below.
The statement from DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales on Speaker Lujan not seeking re-election:
"Battling cancer is never easy. But the Speaker has been a fighter all of his life and I expect we'll see nothing less now. Ben Lujan has long been a light of leadership in the New Mexico Legislature, and we are here to support him during this trying time in whatever way we can. Our thoughts and prayers go to the Speaker and all the Lujan family"
US Senator Tom Udall
"Like so many northern New Mexicans, I have been lucky to call Speaker Luján my friend for many years. One can't help but learn an immense amount about the art of legislating by simply watching him go about his business in the Roundhouse or at home in Nambé Valley. Ben has the most distinct style and unrelenting commitment to the people of New Mexico — fighting especially to help those who are less fortunate. Above all, he is a family man of enduring faith. Jill and I will keep Carmen, Ben Ray and their entire family in our thoughts as they confront this difficult challenge. New Mexico is pulling for you, Ben. We thank you for your extraordinary service to our state."
New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas released the following statement after hearing House Speaker Ben Luján’s announcement that he has cancer:
“I was gravely saddened to hear that Ben Luján, a true New Mexican hero, has been battling cancer for almost three years. Serving under Speaker Luján in the State Legislature was one of the great honors I’ve had as a public servant. He exemplifies a true leader. I’m proud to call Ben a friend and a mentor. His tireless advocacy on behalf of our state is truly inspiring. If you know Ben, you know he’s a fighter. He fights for progressive values, he fights for hard working families and he fights to ensure the next generation of New Mexicans has the chance to succeed. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ben will continue to fight his cancer with the same courage and passion he exudes when fighting for the people of New Mexico. As Ben said, ‘Although my health is weakened my spirit is not.’ My thoughts and prayers are with the Luján family during this difficult time.”