Friday, November 13, 2009

The King is Dead

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Three-term New Mexico Governor Bruce King is dead. He was 85.

He is seen here at a gubernatorial press conference in October 1971 and at an event honoring the four, then living, Democratic New Mexico Governors, below.

Former Governors: Jerry Apodoca, 1975 – 1978 Toney Anaya, 1983 – 1987, and King who served from 1971 – 1974 then 1979 – 1982, and finally 1991 – 1994 with current Gov. Bill Richardson, who has served since 2003.

The Democrat from Stanley was involved in New Mexico Politics for most of his adult life, first being elected Santa Fe County Commissioner in 1954. He then served five terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives, beginning in 1959, three of those terms as Speaker of the House. He was a delegate to the 1969 State Constitutional Convention. King was elected governor. He was unable to legally run for a consecutive term. He be elected twice more.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

King’s passing was preceded by his wife the former Alice Martin. They were married for 61 years and partners in life, labor and politics.

King is remembered for being the cowboy governor and wrote his autobiography, Cowboy in the Roundhouse: A Political Life.

However, his real forte was water. King's father and two brothers Sam and Don thrived because of their irrigation systems, drilling into the Estancia valley area aquifer allowed them to weather droughts and to acquire land from farmers and ranchers who didn’t have the same access to underground water.

The King Brothers Ranch operations became a large operation on the east side of the Sandia Mountains.

King was sworn in January 1, 1971, by New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice J.C. Compton.

King was known for wearing his cowboy boots as a leader of the House. When he ran for Governor he wore more traditional street shoes. At his first gubernatorial press conference he was back to wearing his boots. At the time he picked up a nickname, “Bootsie Burce.”

In the background of the left image is Toney Anaya, who at the time was legislative counsel to U.S. Sen. Joe. Montoya before being elected the State's Attorney General and later followed King after his second term.

I’ll allow other blogers to share their thoughts and recollections of King.

Peter St. Cyr has the announcement from King’s son, Attorney General Gary King’s office.

Santa Fe New Mexican’s political reporter duo, Kate Nash and Steve Terrell have these thoughts; Kate has wonderful images and Steve a couple of great King quotes.

Prof. Jose Z. Garcia’s La Politica: New Mexico! La Voz del Valle del Sur, has a post.

Check out Jim Baca's tribute to King for giving him his political start.

Matt Reichbach has a list of politician's reactions.

Based on his span of service, his influence on the state has been immense.

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