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Remembering a respected voice

Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, joins other members of the Legislative Finance Committee in 2018 to explain a budget proposal. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

The New Mexico Senate lost one of its longest-serving members Tuesday.

Carlos Cisneros, a Democrat from Questa and vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, died of a heart attack. He was 71.

Cisneros’ death shocked his colleagues and prompted an outpouring of praise for his budget expertise, institutional knowledge and work ethic during 34 years of work in the Legislature.

Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, points to a stack of bills and memorials on Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth’s desk in 2017. Wirth called Cisneros “a champion for northern New Mexico who loved serving our state.” (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

A former mine worker and union leader, Cisneros joined the state Senate in 1985 and emerged as a respected voice on financial matters, including capital projects and tax policy.

His district stretches across parts of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will appoint a replacement from a list of nominees approved by the counties.