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New Mexico elected officials reflect on George H.W. Bush

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New Mexico elected officials reflected on the life of former President George H.W. Bush and praised him for both his compassion and decades of national service.

“President Bush’s life of service and his generosity of spirit were an inspiration,” Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, said in a tweet Saturday.

A spokesperson for Bush Friday night said Bush had died at the age of 94.

Bush’s casket was carried from Houston to Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington D.C aboard Air Force One. He will lie in state in the Capitol for public visitation through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are to attend.

Bush, who was President from 1989 to 1993, received widespread praise for playing a significant role in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end, helping Eastern European countries transition to democracy and forming a coalition that ousted invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.

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“President George H.W. Bush was a dedicated public servant and leaves behind an extraordinary legacy for his steadfast support for America’s role as a world leader, working with other nations with our allies and bringing nations together,” New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, said in a tweet Saturday.

In a separate tweet, Heinrich also praised Bush for signing landmark legislation during his time as president, such as the Clean Air Act of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, whose congressional district includes Roswell, said in an emailed statement Monday that he has met both Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died in April. Pearce said the couple provided an example for all Americans through their relationship, service to country and decency. He also praised Bush’s service as a Navy fighter pilot during World War II.

“Our country mourns the loss of a leader, but celebrates the life of a man who was dedicated to serving our country well — in the United States Navy and the Oval office,” Pearce said.

After World War II, Bush made a fortune in the oil industry before launching a career in politics. A Republican, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966 from a district in Texas.

He later served in an assortment of different positions: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chair of the Republican National Committee, U.S. Envoy to China and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Bush served as vice president under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.

In a tweet Saturday, Rep.-elect Deb Haaland, a Democrat, expressed her condolences to the Bush family and the host of friends and colleagues Bush inspired over many decades of service to his community and country.

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, a Democrat, also extended his sympathies.

“Our country owes a debt of gratitude to President George H.W. Bush. His legacy of service will continue to be an enduring example for future generations of leaders,” Lujan tweeted.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to remove a quote incorrectly attributed to Gov. Susana Martinez.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.