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Legislator’s ‘Words Spoke Volumes’

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Memorial held in Roundhouse for Rep. Jeannette Wallace

Friends and colleagues remembered longtime New Mexico legislator Jeannette Wallace during a Wednesday memorial service as a dedicated yet feisty lawmaker who rarely missed a committee hearing or a key vote even as her health declined earlier this year.

Wallace died Friday after battling various illnesses. She was 77.

A Republican who was first elected to her Los Alamos-based House seat in 1990, Wallace was described by fellow legislators in attendance for the memorial in the Capitol rotunda as a hard worker who wasn’t afraid to buck party lines.

“She didn’t answer to the Republicans or the Democrats,” said Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra, D-Albuquerque. “She did what she thought was right.”

In fact, Wallace was the only House Republican to vote March 2 in favor of a $5.4 billion budget plan that ended up passing the House by just one vote.

House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, said advocacy for public safety and fire protection were among Wallace’s hallmarks in the Legislature.

“It was not often she spoke, but when she did, her words spoke volumes,” Lujan said.

Gov. Susana Martinez, who on Wednesday ordered flags flown at half-staff through Thursday to honor Wallace, also praised Wallace’s tireless work in the Roundhouse.

A final service for Wallace, who was narrowly re-elected for an 11th term representing House District 43 in November, will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos.

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