Democrat from Grants wins job on 38-32 party-line vote
State Rep. Ken Martinez today won election as speaker of the House of Representatives, a job his late father held from 1971-78.
"I am very proud and humbled to represent you," Martinez told the 70 House members.
All 38 Democrats voted for Martinez. The 32 Republicans voted for Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington.
Martinez, 53, publicly praised Taylor, saying they would carry legislation together.
"He's a kind man. He's a smart man. He's my friend," Martinez said of Taylor.
Martinez was conciliatory as he continued a 10-minute speech. He said contentious issues could be solved if Democrats and Republicans worked together. He mentioned driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and pension solvency as two of those.
Martinez succeeds the late Ben Lujan as speaker. Lujan, who was speaker for 12 years, did not seek re-election last year. He died in December at age 77.
Martinez also follows in the steps of his late father, Walter Martinez. He was speaker of the House when Ken Martinez was a teenager.