Elected Officials Respond To The Death Of Sen. John Pinto
Elected officials are responding to the death of New Mexico’s longest serving lawmaker, state Sen. John Pinto. Pinto has served as a lawmaker since 1977. In 2001, he was awarded a Congressional Silver Medal for his service as Navajo Code Talker during World War II. He was 94 years old. Gov.
Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered all state flags to be flown at half-mast.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham:
“John Pinto’s towering legacy stretches far beyond the borders of New Mexico, and his loss will be felt across not only this nation but the world. A Marine and Navajo Code Talker, he played a crucial role in winning the Second World War, preserving freedoms for Americans and many more people worldwide. The debt we owe for that service, and the service of all Code Talkers, can never be repaid. A senator for more than 40 years, he represented his constituents with grace, wisdom and tenacity. Through the relationships he built and respect he earned, he was able to secure innumerable crucial investments for New Mexico communities, in particular Native communities. His record of service is unblemished, and his unwavering commitment to his people will forever serve as a shining example. He was a New Mexico icon and an American hero. I will miss his good humor, as will everyone at the Capitol, and I offer my deepest condolences to his loved ones, his family and friends.”
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez:
“On behalf of the Navajo people, we offer our condolences and prayers for the family, friends, colleagues, and many others who had the honor of knowing Sen. John Pinto. Words cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of a great Diné warrior who served our country as a Navajo Code Talker and in the New Mexico State Senate for many years. He dedicated his life to helping others and he changed the lives of so many people for the better. We will miss his smile, his humor, and his love and compassion for the Navajo people. We will miss hearing and seeing him sing ‘The Potato Song’ that brought smiles to so many faces over the years. On behalf of Vice President Myron Lizer, myself, and our families, we offer our thoughts and condolences. May we take comfort in knowing that Honorable John Pinto is now with our Creator.”
U.S. Senator Tom Udall
“Jill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of a true hero and public servant to New Mexico, Indian Country, and the entire country in John Pinto. We send our deepest sympathies to his loved ones, and hope it is a comfort to them that so many around the state and the country join in their grief for the passing of a legendary statesman.
“During his decades as one of New Mexico’s longest serving state senators, John Pinto was a tireless advocate for the people of the Navajo Nation and New Mexico, and he championed issues critical to Indian Country and the state as a whole. And before entering into public service, John already solidified his place in history, helping secure Allied Victory as a Navajo Code Talker in World War II.
“In so many ways, John’s work and service will live on. As we recognize Memorial Day and those who gave their lives in service to this country, so too will we remember John – and express our eternal gratitude for his dedication to New Mexico and our country.”
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver
“Public servants with the patriotism, thoughtfulness, and dedication John Pinto displayed in his 94 years are extremely rare and I’m deeply saddened today to learn of his passing. He served his community, his state, and his nation with honor and with an unparalleled sense of what was right and good in this world. He has already served as an inspiration to generations of New Mexicans looking to improve the lives of their families and neighbors and now, through his memory, that legacy will continue on. On this Memorial Day weekend we should reflect on his life and deeds and honor him by recommitting to the many causes he championed in service of his beloved New Mexico. My thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Attorney General Hector Balderas
“I am truly saddened by the passing of Senator Pinto. I will miss his inspirational view of the world and his kindness. Senator Pinto led New Mexico through some of its most important periods of progress. He honored his state as its longest-serving senator, and his nation as a Navajo Code Talker. My prayers are with his family.”