On Wednesday, it was reported that former New Mexico Gov. Jerry Apodaca, 88, had passed away.
Apodaca was elected in 1974 and went on to serve on Democrat former President Jimmy Carter’s Council on Physical Fitness after leaving office in 1979.
Apodaca’s son, Jeff Apodaca, a former 2018 candidate for governor, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the former governor “may have suffered a stroke at his home.”
He said, “His legacy is not that he was the first Latino governor elected,” adding, “His legacy was that he opened doors for minorities, Hispanics, women in the state and around the country.”
Apodaca was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1965 and defeated Republican Congressman Joe Skeen in the gubernatorial election.
In the 1970s, governors could only run for one four-year non-consecutive term, so the former governor only served one term. Once leaving office, Apodaca served on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. The New Mexico Public Education Department building in Santa Fe is named in his honor.
In 2018, Apodaca, a Democrat, supported Republican Congressman Steve Pearce for governor over far-left Democrat then-Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is currently serving her second term as governor.