Legislature Wrap Up Interview With Representative Nick Salazar

Nick Salazar headshot2

Representative Nick Salazar, Legislative Council Services image

Legislature Wrap Up

The 2015 Legislature session ended March 21 and Friday, April 10, was the official deadline for Governor Martinez to finish signing or vetoing bills that were passed by the legislature this year.

This year the New Mexico Legislature introduced 1365 bills with 158 passing both chambers and the Governor signing them into law.

Now that the law making process is over for the year the Valley Daily Post reporters are sitting down with our region’s state legislators to talk to them about the 2015 session. In this series of stories we will hear from them what this session means to New Mexico and the Valley.

Following the legislative rules of respecting seniority we start this series with New Mexico’s longest serving legislator, Representative Nick Salazar.

Legislature Wrap Up Interview With Representative Nick Salazar

Representative Nick Salazar is the representative for District 40 which includes his home community of Ohkay Owingeh and other areas of Rio Arriba, Mora, San Miguel and Colfax counties.

Representative Salazar was first elected to the legislature in 1972. He is the longest serving legislator in New Mexico and according to him, currently the fifth longest serving legislator in the entire nation.

Representative Salazar retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory but has remained active with the lab since then as a member of the LANS Board. He has been active in the community for over 60 years and remains an important figure in the legislature’s all important Legislative Finance Committee.

The Valley Daily Post met with Representative Salazar on the second to last day of the legislative session. Representative Salazar sat down with us in a side office just off the House Floor, which was still in session, so you can hear others talking as Representative Salazar speaks to us.

At that time the session was not yet over so he could not speak to the final outcome of all issues, but he provides some insightful thoughts on the process that can only come from a senior legislator. We also learn a little about his history and the trademark flower in his lapel. Check out the video clip here of his interview and read a summary of his take on the 2015 legislative session below:

VDP –              What issues or legislation have you championed this year?

  • Every year I use my membership in the finance committee to support senior citizens programs.When I was first elected 43 years ago I discovered that the seniors did not have a champion helping them. So I started setting aside a little money each year in the budget to build up support services for our seniors. Now I am a senior and I still do that. Over the years we have been able to really help the seniors by slowly adding money to these programs.

VDP –              What bills will you be disappointed about if they do not pass?

  • When you have been around as long as I do you know not to get too excited over a bill not passing one year or not. Every year people try to pass different things and sometimes get upset when it doesn’t happen right away. Sometimes things take time, and sometimes some things shouldn’t pass.

VDP-               How did this session compare with previous sessions?

  • It was a new group in charge but a lot of it was pretty much the same as always. When you’ve been around as long as I have you start to see that those in charge all have the same motivation, regardless of their party. Most of us are here to do good for the people.

VDP-               What do constituents in your district not know about you?

  • I think most people know I wear a red flower on my suit jacket every day during the session. I’ve been doing this for 41 years now. It is a fresh flower every day. I started back in the early seventies when I was given a package of flowers by an anonymous person. There were four carnations in the box with pins for me to wear. Four days later another box appeared. This kept going for a long time. Now my family buys the flowers for me and makes sure I always have a fresh one every day.