The New Mexican: The people’s voice: Speaker Ben Luján

New Mexico lost a champion with the death of House Speaker Ben Luján, who died Tuesday night after a fierce struggle with lung cancer.

His story epitomizes the American Dream — that in the United States, through hard work and talent, anything is possible. Born the son of a sheepherder in Nambé, voted most likely to succeed in his graduating class, rising to the middle class as an ironworker at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and turning to politics as a way of serving his community and state, Luján lived to see a son elected to Congress. He was both a high school basketball star and a champion of unions, a man of humble background who became a person of power and influence. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carmen, and his four children, including Congressman Ben Ray Luján.