Former New Mexico Sen. Pete V. Domenici, a Republican who became a power broker in the Senate for his work on the federal budget and energy policy over more than 30 years, died Wednesday.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former New Mexico Sen. Pete V. Domenici, a Republican who became a power broker in the Senate for his work on the federal budget and energy policy over more than 30 years, died Wednesday.
He was 85. Domenici died Wednesday morning at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, Pete Domenici Jr., said. The senator had undergone abdominal surgery in recent weeks.
Domenici announced in October 2007 that he wouldn’t seek a seventh Senate term because he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder, frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
The Albuquerque-born son of Italian immigrants carried a consistent message of fiscal restraint from his first term in 1972 until leaving office in 2009 — regardless of which party was in power. He even refused once to buckle to President Ronald Reagan, who wanted him to delay the budget process.
Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Bennett Johnson of Louisiana described Domenici as “the consummate legislator.”
“He always knows his subject very, very well,” Bennett said previously. “He’s strong in his views, but not rigid in his approach to negotiations. He’s willing to give in when necessary, but he keeps his eye on the ultimate objective.”
He was the longest-serving senator in New Mexico’s history, and was remembered most for his unflagging support of the state’s national laboratories and military installations. “I love the job too…
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