New Mexico state Sen. Carlos Cisneros dies at 71

FILE – In this Jan. 14, 2019 file photo, New Mexico lawmakers including Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, center, announce a proposal in Santa Fe, N.M., for an 11 percent increase in general fund spending for the coming fiscal year amid a surge in state government income. Legislative officials confirmed that Cisneros died Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, 2019, of a heart attack. He had served in the Senate since 1985. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. | New Mexico state Sen. Carlos Cisneros, a Democrat from Questa who served in the Legislature for 35 years as a key negotiator on state spending, has died. He was 71.

Cisneros’ death Tuesday from a heart attack was confirmed by Legislative Council Service Director Raúl Burciaga.

Cisneros first won election to the Senate in 1984 and went on to play a leading role in annual budget negotiations and legislation on tax policy.

He represented a vast district that stretches from the state line with Colorado to the outskirts of Los Alamos, including Taos, Peñasco, Truchas and Pojoaque Pueblo.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was saddened by Cisneros’ death and that he played an important role for decades in designating infrastructure projects across the state.

She credited him with drafting successful legislation this year that increases state investments in small businesses.

“He began his professional career as a mine worker and became a union leader,” Lujan Grisham noted in a statement. “He was a student of New Mexico all his life.”