Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Former N.M. House GOP Leader Fought for Open Government
By Deborah Baker
Journal Staff Writer
SANTA FE—Ted Hobbs, a former Republican leader in the state House of Representatives and an advocate for open government, has died at 75.
Hobbs, who died Sunday, had been diagnosed with cancer in July, his wife, Nancy, said.
He served in the House from 1995 through 2006, when he decided not to run for re-election.
The Albuquerque lawmaker was the GOP floor leader from 1999 through 2004, and the minority whip in 1997-98.
In those posts, he was a key ally of Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, who remembered him Tuesday as "a really principled guy" who combined conservatism and compassion.
"He believed in smaller government, believed in efficient government ... and believed also there were individuals in need of help," Johnson said.
The current Republican House Leader, Tom Taylor of Farmington, called Hobbs "a respected colleague and great example to many of us in the Legislature."
"Although Ted was a passionate Republican, he was always willing to bridge partisan divides to improve the lives of all New Mexicans," Taylor said.
Hobbs was awarded the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award in 2003 by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.
He was honored for his repeated efforts to open legislative conference committees and for his support of other open-government measures.
FOG Executive Director Sarah Welsh said Hobbs "pushed legislators to take a public stand for or against transparency."
His persistence and dedication laid the groundwork for the open conference committee requirement that was enacted into law last year, Welsh said.
Hobbs, a Kansas native who grew up in California, had lived in Albuquerque since 1981.
He spent 36 years working for IBM and was a strong supporter of tax credits and other legislation to help business.
Sherman McCorkle, president and chief executive officer of Technology Ventures Corp., said Hobbs was "a tremendous driving force in private sector job creation in our state."
In addition to his wife of 51 years, Hobbs is survived by his daughter, Tracy Hobbs Diaz and her husband, Dimas, and his sister, Cleo Bluth.
Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at French Mortuary's Lomas Boulevard Chapel, 10500 Lomas NE.