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Political leaders pay tribute to Pete Domenici

KOB.com Web Staff and The Associated Press
September 14, 2017 07:13 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico's political leadership from both sides of the aisle paid tribute to former Sen. Pete Domenici and his legacy. Some national political figures had good things to say about him as well:

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"Laura and I are saddened by the death of our good friend, Senator Pete Domenici.  He loved New Mexico and represented his constituents well in the Senate - an institution for which he had great respect, and in which he earned great respect.  We will miss him, and we send our heartfelt sympathies and best wishes to Nancy and Pete's loved ones."

-- Former President George W. Bush

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"I am saddened by the passing of Senator Pete Domenici, who served the people of New Mexico honorably for 36 years. Though we often disagreed politically, I always respected him for his deep convictions and his belief that compromise is essential for a functioning democracy. He was one of the Senate's great mental health advocates, and I'll always be proud to have signed the Mental Health Parity Act into law, which required the same coverage limits in health insurance policies for mental and physical illness, and for which he fought so passionately. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and his entire family." --

--Former President Bill Clinton

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"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."

-- U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

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"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."

-- U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

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"It goes without saying that Sen. Pete Domenici cared deeply for New Mexico and its people. His political pragmatism represented the views of New Mexicans in every corner of the state, which is why he was so respected. I can’t think of anyone who had a greater impact on New Mexico, particularly through his work on energy policy and securing funding to expand the work at our national labs. His budget prowess gave New Mexico outsized influence, which helped shape the state’s economy, while meeting our national security needs during and beyond the Cold War.

"My lasting impression of Sen. Domenici will always be his heroic work on mental health parity. His compassion and dedication to improve the lives of people with mental disabilities is a legacy worthy of a giant like Pete Domenici."

-- U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

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"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."

-- U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce

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"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."

-- U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

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"I am saddened by the news that my friend, mentor, colleague, fellow New Mexican, and great American, Senator Pete Domenici passed away this morning.

"I always felt privileged and fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Senator Domenici on so many projects important to the country and New Mexico.  Others will remember his many contributions as a leader and legislator. To me, he was a mentor whom I deeply respected. He was always available to offer his advice and a word of encouragement to me as I served the State of New Mexico.  I could not have asked for better.  My thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and his family, and his many friends around the state and nation."

-- Heather Wilson, former congresswoman and current Secretary of the Air Force

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"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."

-- Gov. Susana Martinez

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"Pete Domenici was a political giant who loved New Mexico and championed our state's interests for more than 50 years. His contributions to the labs, our energy resources, the state budget, and protecting our environment are incalculable.  

"Above all, he was a decent man who never forgot his roots, his family, and his fellow New Mexicans."

-- Former Gov. Bill Richardson

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"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."

-- State Rep. Nate Gentry, House majority leader

“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.”

-- State Rep. Brian Egolf, speaker of the house

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"Today our Court learned of the passing of former United States Senator Pete V. Domenici.

"On behalf of the federal judges and staff in the District of New Mexico, I wish to express my Court’s condolences to Mrs. Nancy Domenici and the entire Domenici family, and to express our gratitude for his service to our State, District and Nation. As a public servant whose career spanned some thirty six years, Senator Domenici worked tirelessly with his colleagues to ensure that the Federal District of New Mexico received adequate resources to address its ever increasing caseload. His work on behalf of our State and our Nation will be long remembered and appreciated."

-- Christina Armijo, U.S. chief district judge at the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque

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"My first job on Capitol Hill was in the Senate, back when Pete Domenici was budget chairman. He was this larger-than-life figure who clearly relished the chance to serve and get things done. I learned so much from him, not just on budget issues but also how to be truly committed to your craft. He remains a great inspiration to me. The whole House is thinking of Senator Domenici's family today."

-- U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan

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"Pete left a profound mark on the nation's energy policy, not only as the chairman and ranking member of this committee, but also of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. He was a strong supporter of our national laboratories, energy research and development, alternative energy sources like solar and wind, and nuclear nonproliferation."

-- U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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"His commitment and determination to ensuring a strong laboratory into the future is evidenced by his unwavering support for bringing cutting-edge supercomputing facilities to the laboratory and ensuring the laboratory possessed unsurpassed technical capabilities to counter threats to this country from abroad. Senator Domenici was also a passionate believer in the benefits of Big Science to our society, referring to our national laboratories as 'crown jewels.' He was instrumental in making use of our supercomputing for projects, beyond national security, such as mapping the human genome."

-- Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan

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"As the number one champion of civil nuclear power and as a man of faith, Pete knew that we could use uranium to benefit hundreds of millions of people or we could use it to destroy God's creation. Suffice it to say, Pete was an indispensable leader in the post-Cold War effort to protect the American people. No better man, no better friend."

-- Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

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"On behalf of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the Honorable Pete Domenici, who was known as a selfless person who helped many people within the state of New Mexico and our country in many ways. We will honor and remember his tremendous service and advocacy for the Navajo people as a U.S. Senator."

-- Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates

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"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."

-- Attorney General Hector Balderas

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"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."

-- State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn

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"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."

-- Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver

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"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."

-- Ryan Cangiolosi, Republican Party of New Mexico Chair

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"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."

-- Rosie Tripp, Republican Party national committeewoman

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"Pete Domenici was a great man. His concern was for the well-being 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."

-- Harvey Yates, Republican Party national committeeman

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"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." 

-- Richard Ellenberg, Democratic Party of New Mexico chair

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"We are extremely saddened by the passing of former United States Senator Pete Domenici, who was a true champion of the entire University of New Mexico, especially the Health Sciences Center. He always put the success of our institution and the well-being of New Mexicans above all else.

"Senator Domenici’s efforts in support of our educational mission were transformational to health sciences in the state. The Domenici Center for Health Education, an interdisciplinary learning complex, was named in his honor. It just opened its third and final phase late this summer, and serves as an enduring reminder of what Senator Domenici meant to the HSC.  

"In addition to his advocacy for the Health Sciences Center, Senator Domenici was a tireless champion for mental health parity, an issue near and dear to my heart personally, and to that of everyone at the HSC. He worked in a bi-partisan manner to ensure that those struggling with mental illness had access to treatment – and to insurance coverage for that treatment. The effect of this change on the lives of the people we serve, and on their communities, is immeasurable.

"We will miss Senator Domenici’s presence in our community and are keeping his family close to our hearts today and in the coming days. The best way we can honor him is to continue our mission of improving the health of all New Mexicans through our educational, clinical and research missions, which he helped to grow."

-- Paul B. Roth, chancellor for Health Sciences at UNM

Credits

KOB.com Web Staff and The Associated Press

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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