Two Last Goodbyes

Sen. Cliff Pirtle

The Senate opened its last floor session of the 2024 session with a certificate ceremony for another senator who’s leaving the chamber. Sen Cliff Pirtle (R-Chaves, Eddy and Otero) is not seeking re-election. It was announced the 10-year veteran of the Senate will be opening Homestead Spirits, a distillery and restaurant in downtown Roswell.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) said Pirtle came in as the youngest member of the Senate “and learned quickly,” digging in to rules and decorum as well as laws. That and his intelligence “helped make this chamber a better place.”

Pirtle was commended as well for his dedication to killing “bad” bills, his amendment-writing ability as well as his wry humor and bills allowing counties to secede from the state, jettisoning Daylight-Saving Time and making the day after the Super Bowl a holiday. Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo) shared that when Pirtle won his seat, beating the last Democrat in the chamber from southern New Mexico, he was not prepared to like him. Then he met him at a gathering for the man he had defeated, now-Roswell Mayor Tim Jennings, and kne Pirtle was a class act.

Pirtle told his colleagues “every single one of you means so much to me. What we do in here is not as important as what we do when we are outside of this room. … Help every single person. Outside of this room, help people.”

The Senate also said a quick farewell as the clock ran down to retiring Sen. Bill Tallman (D-Bernalillo). He joined the Senate in 2017 and was heralded today as a champion of open and accountable government.

Senate President Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo) provided a truncated “Top 10” list to poke fun at one of Tallman’s trademarks, offering as No. 1 “No more Top 10s.”

Sen. Bill Tallman

And Stewart shared that every one of the many departures from the Senate this session “hurts … we’re going to have a different Senate next year. I look forward to it.”

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