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Funeral Mass for House Speaker Lujan draws crowd

Behind Speaker Ben Lujan's casket, Carmen Lujan, holds onto her two sons, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, second from left, and Jerome Lujan, as the family leaves the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi after the funeral mass, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Santa Fe, N.M. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Behind Speaker Ben Lujan's casket, Carmen Lujan, holds onto her two sons, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, second from left, and Jerome Lujan, as the family leaves the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi after the funeral mass, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Santa Fe, N.M. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
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SANTA FE (AP) — House Speaker Ben Lujan, one of the most powerful and longest serving state legislators in New Mexico history, is being laid to rest.

A funeral Mass for Lujan drew about 1,000 people to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe on Saturday. Among them were former Gov. Toney Anaya, Attorney General Gary King and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.

During the service, Lujan’s son, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, described his father as a gentleman and said he fought for those who were less fortunate.

Lujan died of lung cancer shortly before Christmas. He was 77.

The Democrat from Nambe announced his battle with the illness and his planned retirement at the opening of the 2012 legislative session.

He spent half his life as a state lawmaker, winning his first election to the House in 1974.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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