Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
State flags will be flown at half-staff through Sunday for longtime New Mexico legislator Edward C. Sandoval, who died Wednesday morning after a long battle with COVID-19. He was 74.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed the executive order, which said Sandoval “served the state and his community in the House of Representatives for 30 years,” and the honor “will serve to commemorate Representative Sandoval’s distinguished life and to mourn his loss.”
In a separate statement, the governor said Sandoval was “a faithful public servant,” representing his North Valley constituents with “warmth, integrity and decency.” She further called him “an honorable man with a wonderful sense of humor.”
Both the House and the Senate observed moments of silence in Sandoval’s honor.
A Democrat, Sandoval served as District 13 state senator from 1975-76, and as District 17 state representative from 1983 until he retired in 2014.
Among the committees and subcommittees he chaired were Taxation and Revenue, Voters and Elections, Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy, and Health and Human Services, which he helped to establish.
Sandoval promoted legislation that helped establish the Rio Grande Valley State Park, as well as the Patient Protection Act and the Mental Health Parity Act.
His daughter, Christina Sandoval, said her father was “a wonderful man and a great public servant who loved his state, his city and the North Valley.”
He also “never met a stranger,” she said. “He’d go into a restaurant and find out the life story of the waitress, and there was a high probability that he knew her parents.”
House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, called Sandoval one of the most “thoughtful, kindest and giving” members of the Legislature.
Other lawmakers remembered him for his sense of humor and his work on mental health issues, including jail diversion programs.
“We have definitely lost a great soul,” Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said. He called Sandoval “a man with a big heart under a gruff exterior.”
A statement from the New Mexico Senate Republican Caucus extended condolences to Sandoval’s family and friends, saying, “We will miss his institutional wisdom and sense of humor in the Roundhouse.”
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller met Sandoval when Keller was a state senator and called him “an icon” in the Legislature.
“You could count on any meeting he chaired to include his intellectual curiosity, deep love for our state and a solid dose of his classic wit,” Keller said.
Sandoval, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam, attended Valley High School and UNM before embarking on a career as a real estate agent.
He also had a love of New Mexico Spanish music and introduced song dedications on a Saturday morning KANW-FM radio program.
“Ed really understood the importance of New Mexico Spanish music and keeping that cultural tradition alive,” said station general manager Michael Brasher.
“He had a really good relationship with the listeners and enjoyed talking to them, knowing that their song dedications marked important events in their lives, like births, first holy communions, anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, or when somebody passed away.”
Ed Sandoval is survived by his wife of 50 years, Loretta, daughter Christina, and three grandsons, Isiah Sandoval, Moses Sandoval and William Sandoval.