Tuesday, October 23, 2007
State Rep. Manuel Herrera Succumbs to Prostate Cancer
The Associated Press
BAYARD State Rep. Manuel Herrera, a member of the Legislature since 1999, has died. He was 70.
Herrera, a Democrat, died Sunday after a battle with prostate cancer.
He represented a district that included portions of Grant and Hidalgo counties. He was a former municipal judge, mayor and city councilor in Bayard.
Herrera spoke emotionally about his fight against cancer earlier this year during a legislative debate over legalizing the medical use of marijuana. A police officer early in his career, he opposed the measure.
"I've survived this cancer five times, and I intend to fight it with whatever is available, except marijuana," Herrera told his colleagues.
Herrera was elected to the Legislature in 1998, defeating a longtime incumbent Democrat, Thomas Foy, in the primary election.
Herrera served as vice chairman of the House Labor and Human Services Committee and was a member of the Taxation and Revenue Committee.
"Manny Herrera was a quiet, but effective, advocate for the people in Grant and Hidalgo counties," Gov. Bill Richardson said in a statement. "I always turned to Manny Herrera on any issue that affected southwest New Mexico. He will be missed."
The governor ordered flags lowered to half staff in honor of Herrera.
Herrera was born Dec. 3, 1936, in Santa Rita and graduated from high school in Hurley. He attended Western New Mexico University.
Herrera served two city council terms in Bayard, from 1968-72 and 1976-80 and was a single-term mayor from 1972-74. After retiring from his longtime job as a warehouse manager for Phelps Dodge at the Tyrone mine, he was appointed as municipal judge in 1989.
Herrera was elected to the judgeship from 1990-98 and filled in as acting judge at various times in the years since then.
After high school, Herrera served as a police officer in El Paso and later in Bayard. He was also a volunteer firefighter in Bayard.
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