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Domenici

2 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

First Albuquerque home at 1801
Milestones
Candelaria NW.
1958 1966
n Graduates from the n Elected to

1932 University of Denver Law
School.
n Marries Nancy Burk after
Albuquerque City
Commission.
n Pietro Vichi Domenici born May 7 in n Legally changes
his parents’ downtown Albuquerque meeting her at UNM. The his name to Pete V.
home. The Domenicis, who emigrated couple go on to have eight Domenici.
from Italy, owned Montezuma Grocery
Co. on North First Street. 1954 children.
n Domenici begins practicing
law in Albuquerque.
n Earns education degree from the
University of New Mexico.
1967 1970
1950 n Pitches for the minor league
Albuquerque Dukes, then a farm club
for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
n Elected chairman
of the City
n Runs for governor and
loses to Democrat Bruce
King from Stanley, a former
n Graduates
n Teaches math at Garfield Junior Commission, which speaker of the state House
from St. Mary’s
High School in Albuquerque’s North was equivalent to of Representatives.
High School in
Valley. being mayor.
Albuquerque.
n Enrolls in law school at the
University of Denver.

1984 1978
n Re-elected to third Senate n Re-elected to second U.S. Senate term
term with 71.9 percent of the
with 53.4 percent of the vote, defeating
vote, defeating state Rep.
Democrat Toney Anaya, a former New
Judy Pratt of Albuquerque.
Mexico attorney general who would go on to
become governor in 1983.

President Bush watches
training exercises at the
1985 n Wins passage of his first major piece
of legislation — Inland Waterways
Authorization Bill, taxes commercial
n With Sen. Bob Dole’s
Federal Law Enforcement help, passes a bill freezing shippers.
Training Center in Artesia. Social Security cost-of-living
adjustments, a measure
aimed at balancing the federal
budget.
1981 1972
n Ascends to chairmanship of the n Elected to U.S. Senate, defeating
Senate Budget Committee during the
1989
Democrat Jack Daniels, a Hobbs
“Reagan Revolution” and increasingly businessman. Domenici, who garners

n Secures funding to
convert the dormant
1988 becomes national figure while retaining
his identity as a pragmatic, political
moderate.
54 percent of the vote, is the first
Republican to win the seat in 38
years.
n Makes presidential n Secures the first $15 million for
Midwest Christian
candidate George H.W. Bush’s

1973
College campus in what will become the $463 million
short list for vice president, Microsystems and Engineering
Artesia to a branch
but Bush ultimately chooses Sciences Applications (MESA) Complex
of the Federal Law
Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle. at Sandia National Laboratories in
Enforcement Training nGiven a seat on the Senate Budget
Center. Albuquerque. Committee.

1990 1998 1999 2001
n Re-elected to fourth term in the n Travels to Russia n Aggravates an old elbow injury n As majority
U.S. Senate, defeating state Sen. and France to foster while playing touch football on party status
Tom Benavides, D-Albuquerque, support for an overhaul Thanksgiving with his grandchildren. shifts to the
with 72.9 percent of the vote. of U.S. policy on The injury would eventually lead to Democrats,
nuclear weapons and partial paralysis of his right hand — Domenici forced
energy. Advocates forcing him to greet people with his

1995
to step down as
more nuclear-powered left hand — and chronic pain. chairman of the
electrical plants and Senate Budget
conversion of weapons-
n First shipment of transuranic
n Helps congressional delegation waste arrives at the Waste Isolation Committee but
and local committee fend off grade plutonium from retains various
decommissioned U.S. Pilot Plant near Carlsbad — the
Pentagon recommendation to nation’s first permanent storage influential roles as a senior GOP member.
Base Realignment and Closure and Russian nuclear
weapons into fuel for facility for nuclear waste. Domenici
Commission to cut 6,850 jobs

1997 nuclear power plants. is a longtime supporter of the

2002
from Kirtland Air Force Base. project.
Agrees on plan for
1996
n
n Leads negotiations that result public acquisition of the
in a federal Balanced Budget Act. 89,000-acre Baca Ranch n Re-elected to sixth U.S. Senate term with 65 percent
The deal is widely hailed as a in the Jemez Mountains, of the vote, defeating Democrat Gloria Tristani. He is
n Wins a fifth term in the U.S. the first New Mexican to be elected to a six full terms in
Senate with 64 percent of the major legislative achievement and which includes the Valles
becomes one of the hallmarks of Caldera. the Senate.
vote, defeating Democrat Art
Trujillo. Domenici’s career. The next year, n Hospitalized for five days to treat nerve-damaged
the federal budget runs a surplus elbow and hand pain. Begins occasionally using a
for the first time since 1969. motorized scooter to get around the Capitol.

2006 2005
n Comprehensive Energy Policy Act
n Joins state’s of 2005 passes after three years of
congressional delegation effort from Domenici. Domenici calls
in announcing that it his greatest accomplishment after
Cannon Air Force 33 years in Congress.
Base, targeted for
closure by the Defense n President Bush signs the energy

2003
Department’s 2005 Base bill on Aug. 8 at Sandia National
Realignment and Closure Laboratories.
Commission, will instead n Closes a loophole in the Pueblo Act
become home to a nNamed chairman of the Senate Energy
of 1924 that created “prosecution- and Natural Resources Committee.
Special Operations Wing, free zones” on some pueblo lands.
saving an estimated

2004
2,800 military and
civilian jobs and more
than 1,000 related jobs
in the Clovis area. n A longtime supporter of nuclear
technology, he publishes “A Brighter
■ Though initially hesitant Tomorrow: Fulfilling the Promise of
to ban drilling in New Nuclear Energy.”
Mexico’s pristine Valle
Vidal, votes in favor of n Helps to secure another $91 million
the bill, which passes for the Microsystems and Engineering
both houses and Sciences Applications (MESA) Complex
becomes law. at Sandia National Laboratories in
New Mexico’s congressional delega- Albuquerque. A new federal courthouse in Albuquer-
tion fought to prevent the closure of Signing the 2005 energy bill.
que is named for the senator.
Cannon Air Force Base at Clovis. n New U.S. District Courthouse in
Albuquerque is named after Domenici.

2007 2008
nLoses chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources nLegislation for mental health parity in insurance coverage
Committee, which goes to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. — championed by Domenici for more than a decade — wins
passage.
n Apologizes for a pre-election call to then-U.S. Attorney David
Iglesias about the status of public corruption cases possibly n Senate ethics committee issues “Public Letter of Qualified
embarrassing to Democrats. Admonition” to Domenici for a 2006 call to then-U.S. Attorney
David Iglesias. Committee says Domenici should not have
nCiting a need for a new strategy, the senator joins a growing made the call, but found “no substantial evidence” that he
number of Republican senators to break ranks with President Bush tried to improperly influence a federal investigation.
on the conduct of the war in Iraq.
n The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law
nAs top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Enforcement Training Center at Artesia is renamed the
Committee, Domenici heralds filing of first nuclear power plant Federal Law Enforcement Training Center — Pete V. Domenici
application in 29 years. Training Complex. The facility, created with Domenici’s help
nCiting the onset of a degenerative brain disease, Domenici Six-term Sen. Pete Domenici embraces his wife, Nancy, after in 1989, trains thousands of federal law enforcement agents
announces he will not seek a seventh term. announcing his retirement in Albuquerque on Oct. 4, 2007. annually.
The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008 3

‘I worked pretty hard’ From the
Publisher
Popular N.M. senator remembered for dedication, long service to state
T
he people first put their trust
By John Robertson in Pete Domenici when they
Journal State Editor elected him to the Albuquerque

T
City Commission. New
his special section reviews the Mexicans liked what they saw, so they
highlights of the life and career of sent the hardworking son of Italian
Pete Domenici, New Mexico’s longest- immigrants to represent New Mexico in
serving United States senator. the United States Senate.
The Journal reached into photo and news To say that he repaid that trust would
archives compiled over more than four be a huge understatement. Few have
decades of reporting on Domenici and asked done as much for their state and their
reporters to interview knowledgeable people country. He worked tirelessly during
about his background and contributions. his six terms in the Senate on behalf
Domenici announced in October 2007 his of his beloved New Mexico, and built a
pending retirement after he was diagnosed national legacy on issues ranging from
with a degenerative brain disease. In a twist the budget to energy independence.
of good news, he told a Journal reporter Journal file He has distinguished himself as an
recently that he was feeling much better honorable and ethical public servant,
and that the disease had stalled. In fact, one The Cochiti Pueblo Drum Group and Zuni Pueblo Olla Maidens stand behind Sen. Pete Domenici,
R-N.M., at the 2004 dedication of the Pete V. Domenici Indian Affairs Building in Albuquerque. and we are pleased to publish this
researcher told him he didn’t believe he had section in honor of his legacy. We wish
the disease at all. But Domenici said he did Pete and his family all the best.
not regret his decision to step down. reported a story being told inside the New of their eight children, for living with the
The senator himself was in the Journal Mexico congressional delegation. Domenici distractions and demands of his political Gracias, mi amigo
offices the other day for a farewell chat. His had asked a delegation member who was up career.
jacket cuffs were a little frayed and he wore for election what he could do to help. “It has not been an easy job,” Domenici
a wristwatch with a yellow face and a red Zia “Stop taking credit for everything that said of his wife. “She probably has had as
symbol. happens in the state,” the fellow New hard a job — a much harder job than I — and
The worn coat and New Mexico watch Mexican said. she’s never been anything but beautiful and
seemed to reflect themes that run throughout It was told as a joke, but the truth is that decent, honest and loving and caring.”
the stories and testimonials in this tribute: Domenici was ubiquitous when it came to T.H. Lang, Publisher
getting money, projects and services sent Then, in a modest summation of his own
hard work, long service and devotion to New efforts, the man from New Mexico said, “I
Mexico. New Mexico’s way. For years, he served
on the powerful Senate Appropriations worked pretty hard at being a senator.”
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who has Committee. Meanwhile, his staff helped
served all 25 of his years in the Senate with countless individuals and families with
Domenici, spoke in August at the Domenici with everyday problems. Back home, critics
EDITOR writers ONABQJournal.com
Legacy Conference at New Mexico State somewhat resentfully dubbed him St. Pete. john robertson Michael coleman Go online
University and said, “The four hallmarks of But the critics were few. Nearly 70 percent to see video
DESIGNERS john fleck
the Domenici legacy can be summarized in of voters surveyed in the last Journal poll excerpts
four words: budget, energy, nuclear and labs.” LEAH DERRINGTON
on his job performance said they approved. toby smith of Michael
RACHEL CONGER
As chairman of the Senate Budget Throughout, he was a Republican in a Coleman’s
Committee and later as chairman of Senate olivier extensive
Democratic majority state. photo editor
Energy and Natural Resources, Domenici There were few incidents to mar the luster JAIME DISPENZA uyttebrouck interview with Sen. Domenici
rose to prominence in Congress and provided of his career — perhaps only one that will be
national leadership on the federal budget and remembered. That was his phone call to the
energy policy. In 1997, while he was Senate U.S. attorney for New Mexico at the height
Budget Committee chairman, Congress of the 2006 election about an investigation
passed its first balanced budget in more than that could prove embarrassing to Democrats. Thank You for a lifetime of service!
three decades. Meanwhile, Bingaman noted, Domenici said he regretted making the call
Domenici always knew what New Mexico and apologized. The Senate ethics committee
communities needed and wanted. issued a “Public Letter of Qualified
“Few can match his record of Admonition” but found “no substantial For your lifetime commitment to bettering the
accomplishment, and, I think it’s safe to say, evidence” that Domenici had improperly
the respect and affection the citizens of a tried to influence an investigation.
lives of all New Mexicans, for your dedicated
state have for their senator and his family,” While he relished his big-vote margins in leadership and support of the Republican Party,
Bingaman said.
“I’m a legislator,” Domenici once said of
six elections to the Senate, the senator from and for your unwavering friendship, we thank you.
New Mexico was the opposite of the blow-
himself. In a single word, it said a lot about
his career. Colleagues say he was good, both
dried, blow-hard politician who has become Your service to New Mexico has touched
the image of Washington. He wasn’t running
at City Hall and then in Congress, at working for president. He wasn’t lining his own generations, brought people together, and
with others to get things done for his town
and his state.
pockets. He was a practical man who took his provided a foundation for the future.
job seriously and focused on helping his state.
As his career draws to a close, there’s no
shortage of buildings and roads being named In his own farewell speech on the Senate
floor in September, Domenici thanked
You will never be forgotten and
for the retiring senator. But New Mexicans
obviously think the recognition is due. key members of his staff over the years,
including Steve Bell, Bill Hoagland and Alex
will always be our St. Pete!
The Journal’s late Washington
correspondent, Paul R. Wieck, in 1983 Flint. He thanked his wife, Nancy, mother Paid for by the Republican Party of New Mexico .

Our best wishes, as always, Senator Domenici!
Don Chalmers, Terri Cole and
The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce
4 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

COURTESY OF DOMENICI FAMILY

Early days in Albuquerque: From left, sisters Thelma, Mary, Karlene and Nella; and a future U.S. senator from New Mexico, Pietro Vichi Domenici.

Bocci’s boyhood
Family, faith and hard work laid a lifetime foundation
By Toby Smith had to worry about how the other kid, wearing a big father. “Papa, I want to go to work, serving as a public
Journal Staff Writer candles might be placed ring, swung and cut Pete’s law school.” defender for murderers,

T
when Bocci was aboard. face. Blood spurted, Pete was “You’re crazy,” said rapists, scalawags. Simply
he little, sandy- On and off during that off to the ER, and Choppo Choppo. “Why do you want put, he had to work. The
haired boy stood time, he assisted at his was livid. Later, the youths more school? You’re doing family he and Nancy had
at the gate in front father’s store, Montezuma became good friends: Bocci well.” started kept adding kids, it
of his house on Grocery Co. There he stocked and Bobby Unser. When Pete got accepted at seemed, almost every year.
Tijeras Street NW. As he shelves; swept up; watched After a few semesters at Denver, his father said, “If Lawyers and other
had every night for almost Choppo do the books. That the College of St. Joseph on you work up there, you won’t business people in
a week, the boy called out a last task, Bocci’s boyhood Albuquerque’s West Mesa, make it through school.” Albuquerque in the 1960s
name, repeating it over and pals are sure, honed his keen Domenici transferred to By now, Choppo had sold often met for coffee at
over. “Tubby!” he cried in senatorial interest in matters UNM, which had, he was his business. He had turned Magidson’s, at Second and
a plaintive voice. “Tubby! financial. certain, a better baseball his grocery into a wholesale Central. A morning cup was
Please come home!” program. operation, which had for chewing the fat about how
A mix-breed mongrel, An appreciation In a biology class at UNM, thrived. He had done well. the Lobos did or, as it was for
Tubby never came home. he spotted a cute tennis “I will pay for everything,” Domenici, grousing about the
Pete Domenici, the dog’s for the law
player named Nancy Burk. Choppo said. “If you fail, city in which he lived.
owner, was like a lot of kids. Working at the grocery, “That’s someone I want to you’ll pay me back every “Why can’t they get
His world for a time revolved peddling his mother Alda’s know,” he decided. With cent.” that street repaired” he
around a beloved pet. flowers on the street, his degree from UNM in With that, the senior wondered. “Why can’t they
Domenici’s childhood, his playing sandlot ball brought 1954, young Pete took a job Domenici wrote up a pay cops or firemen more?”
youth and his young adult Domenici at a young age teaching math at Garfield promissory note and made Every morning, it seemed,
years were, in fact, like a in contact with all strata Junior High School. Choppo his son sign it. the crew-cut young lawyer
lot of kids’ — then and now. and races of people — was happy. Teaching is an Pete didn’t flunk out. At had one more complaint
Hard work, little money, from Hispanics to Native honorable profession, he told his graduation party, Choppo about what was wrong with
immigrant parents who set Pete Domenici stands tall and Americans to kids from the his son. tore up the note. Albuquerque.
examples, more hard work wears a white hat at an early sprouting Heights. But Pete didn’t think “That was the biggest Finally, those at
and, ultimately, the success age. The ease at which he mixed teaching paid enough. boost of confidence I could Magidson’s long front
that frequently comes when became his political calling Eventually, he knew, he ever have,” Domenici table, where the most lively
all those characteristics Conception Church. Work, card. “People for Pete,” his wanted to marry Nancy remembered. conversations took place,
collaborate. school, church. The three campaign slogan went. He’s Burk. So he tended bar at urged Pete to put up or shut
words defined much of Pete one of us, people felt, even if Romeo’s, a saloon owned Doing something up.
A name never Domenici’s first 25 years. he is a Republican. by a family friend; tutored about his city “What do you mean?” he
to be outgrown He made good grades at St. Bocci wasn’t a perfect boy. young kids; and worked for said.
Mary’s, minded the sisters, In high school, Domenici his father. Returning to Albuquerque “Run for public office; get
The Tijeras house was starred on the baseball got into a fistfight with a kid after law school, Domenici
Teaching math, he soon involved.”
one of three homes Pete diamond and, classmates from Albuquerque High. It took a job with a family
discovered, was not for him. Soon, a bloc was formed,
Domenici lived in during said, developed leadership happened in front of the old friend, Gino Matteuci, a
But what to do? the People’s Committee for
his growing-up years. The skills that never left him. Highland Theater. Seems smart, courtly lawyer.
A St. Mary’s buddy named Better Government. Pete,
first house, on Candelaria When he wasn’t attending his adversary, a rangy blond Domenici worked hard,
Kaiser Michael was applying Harry Kinney and John
NW, where he was born school, he was often next youth with a penchant for taking any client who came
to law school at Denver Gurule were put forward to
but resided only briefly, is door, at church, serving as fast cars, liked the same into the office, not fearing
University. “You ought to be on the City Commission,
notable because it’s where an altar boy and training girl Pete did. Domenici the role of lead attorney in
apply there, too, Bocci.” similar to today’s City
he received a nickname that others. According to Pete’s took exception; words were the most complicated cases.
One day Pete worked up Council. They would run for
stuck for life. three older sisters, no priest exchanged. Finally, the He gladly accepted pro bono
the courage to confront his See DOMENICI on PAGE 5
A few days after Pietro
Vichi Domenici appeared,
on May 7, 1932, an aunt who
spoke no English stopped by
and held aloft the 10-pound
newborn first son. “Sembra
un bocci,” she announced. He
looks like a bocci ball.
“Bocci,” echoed the proud
dad, Cherubino Domenici,
bearer of a nickname
himself. He was “Choppo,”
another boyhood handle.
The family moved to the
house on Tijeras because
of its nearness to Choppo’s
grocery store, to St. Mary’s
School, to Immaculate

NEAR RIGHT: Growing up: Pete
Domenici and two of his sisters
in post-war Albuquerque.

FAR RIGHT: Just elected to the
Albuquerque City Commission,
Domenici and his wife, Nancy,
pose in 1966 with six of what
would eventually be their eight
children. COURTESY OF DOMENICI FAMILY JOURNAL FILE
The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008 5

Bocci found new love on the mound
Domenici came But Pete could play all day.
During summers, he played
Domenici had always
relied on his fastball. In the Domenici fires a fastball
close to attaining American Legion games
that took him from Gallup
pros, batters learned to look
for the heat. To compound
for the Albuquerque
Dukes in 1954.
to Clovis. He played pueblo matters, Domenici didn’t
baseball dreams teams and pickup squads
from the South Valley.
get along with the Dukes’
manager, who made Pete a
By Toby Smith People — fans and opposing relief pitcher. The man rode
Journal Staff Writer players — soon got to know Pete, the college boy. Rode

L
the friendly Albuquerque kid him hard.
ong before there were
called “Bocci.” And many Things got particularly
budget meetings on
later remembered him at sour one July night. The
Capitol Hill, there
election time. Dukes had just played the
were baseball games
His coach during summers Roswell Rockets, and the
on the UNM hill.
was an ex-major leaguer Rockets’ great hitter, Big
With his dog Tubby gone,
named Joe Palmisano. “You Joe Bauman, — who held
Pete Domenici soon gained
a new love: hardball. He got what it takes,” old Joe the American professional
learned on sandlots, chiefly said, affirming Bocci’s dream baseball record for home
the playgrounds at St. Mary’s of playing professional ball. runs (72) in a season for
and Washington Junior High In 1950, his senior year nearly 50 years — had
School. From the beginning, in high school, and suiting clubbed two triples off
he wanted to pitch. A loose- up for the esteemed coach Pete, knocking a hole in the
limbed, bespectacled hurler Babe Parenti, Domenici outfield fence with one blast.
with a Juan Marichal leg led St. Mary’s to a state On the way out of town, the
kick, in time Domenici championship. At the College Dukes’ manager ordered
developed into a fine of St. Joseph first, then at the the team bus to stop. The
fireballer. University of New Mexico, he manager stood up and said
As a boy, he took his continued to draw notice as a for all to hear, “Domenici,
baseball glove and a ball with pitcher. As a UNM senior in here’s a five-dollar bill. Go
him when he went to help 1954, he went 14-3 and made into that hardware store
out at Montezuma Grocery. all-conference. tomorrow and buy a hammer
There, he pestered anyone A family friend, George and some nails. Then go back
to have a catch. Domenici Savage, knew the owner of and fix that fence.”
may have been devoted to the Albuquerque Dukes, then For Pete Domenici, the
baseball, but his father, who a class D farm club of the words brought his dream
called the game “pelota,” was Brooklyn Dodgers. As a favor, to a painful halt. However,
not. Cherubino Domenici the Dukes that summer of ’54 as soon as he got back to
thought baseball a foolish offered Domenici a contract. Albuquerque, he started
waste. When he saw his son It’s recollected to be $300 a pitching again, for a local
tossing a ball, he shook his month. semi-pro outfit. Bocci was
head and asked, “How can Suddenly, the dream of pro back among people who
you play when you have work baseball seemed closer than appreciated him. He was
to do?” ever. back home. COURTESY OF DOMENICI FAMILY

Domenici got involved in his hometown
from PAGE 4 Chuck Lanier remembered. officio mayor, he held others to follow.
The newly “Everybody liked him.” neighborhood gripe sessions. Though few outside
elected U.S. seats against another group, When an elderly woman
senator the Albuquerque Citizen’s Bernalillo County knew him,
Leaving an imprint told him that every time it Domenici ran for governor in
returns to his Committee, which dated back rained a sewer overflowed in
old stomp- to Clyde Tingley days. on his hometown 1970. He took on Bruce King,
her yard, Domenici had the
ing grounds, Domenici threw himself Elected to the City sweeping Bernalillo County
public works director fixing
Albuquerque into that race by going Commission in 1966, but getting licked elsewhere.
things the next morning.
City Hall, in around town and visiting Domenici distinguished Afterward, he looked for all
people he had sold flowers to, His People’s Committee
1974. himself right away. “He for Better Government the world like the boy who
played baseball with, knew
always wanted to check embraced urban renewal, missed his dog. This would
JOURNAL FILE from school or church. He
things out,” said Bill getting a Convention Center be the only election Pete
went to the neighborhoods
like Barelas, where some Keleher, “to see for himself. built and replacing decrepit Domenici ever lost.
residents thought he was He wanted to visit the old structures with new ones. Two quick years later,
Spanish because he spoke Albuquerque Museum, then The committee helped get elected to the U.S. Senate,
the language. And to the out by the airport, to see the Sports Stadium built,
he left Albuquerque for
South Valley, where he had if the city was getting its home of the Dukes for three
money worth from it.” decades. And the group Washington, D.C. But he
tended bar and driven home
more than one inebriated The following year, 1967, attracted industry. Domenici didn’t leave it, for his legacy
customer. These were Pete’s Domenici was named & Co. got Singer to relocate remains all about. As do
people. chairman of the City to Albuquerque, then GTE the many people who know
“Everybody knew Pete,” Commission. As the ex Lenkurt, Levi Strauss and Bocci.

Sen. Pete Domenici,
Sandia National Laboratories, Lockheed Martin Corporation,
and the Technology Ventures Corporation thank you for your
unwavering support for more than three decades to help us
provide exceptional service in the national interest.

We thank you for your service to New Mexico and the
nation. Our best to you, Nancy and your family.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company,
for the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract
DE-AC04-94AL85000.MV.11.08
6 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

Q& A
Duke City
to D.C.
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., sat down in
Albuquerque and Washington, D.C., recently
with Journal Washington correspondent
Michael Coleman to talk about his life
and career

Tell me how you got a team was put together did that loss — the only
involved in politics for that was called the People’s electoral defeat of your
the first time? Committee. We ran this career — teach you about

I
campaign and I got the running for office?
don’t think I thought most votes, so that made me
about it very much. But chairman under the rules. In New Mexico, a
any organization I was City Hall was just one excit- Republican can’t win a
in, leadership positions ing thing after another for campaign by just being a
just seemed to come three years and about eight good candidate or having
naturally. I was president of months. I spent lots and a lot of personal friends or
my sixth grade class. I was lots of time early on to the having a nice family. He
president of every class we neglect of my family and can only win if he runs a
ever had at St. Mary’s (High certainly my law practice. real tough, professional
School in Albuquerque). I campaign. Bruce King
went to St. Joseph’s college How did you get by was well-known. I was
for two years before I financially? not. Clearly, I had to build
transferred to UNM, and I from the base up. He had a
was president of the student I didn’t work (at law) very very powerful Democratic
body as a sophomore at St. much, and somebody sup- Party, and he was a likeable
Joe’s (college). I remember ported me or we would have man. And my organization
we had a student strike, gone broke. Tom Bonham, was totally inadequate. It
because the old sister who another lawyer who was was a sad night when we
ran the treasury had put helping me with my work, finally counted the votes.
our student loan money supported us because I got I was a city boy and that
somewhere we didn’t so involved with city gov- clearly gave me a lot of get-
want it. And I remember ernment. He used to joke up-and-go from Bernalillo
standing on a table and we that he was the only bach- County… but, in the rural
were chanting, “Money, or elor in town who was sup- communities and smaller
COURTESY OF DOMENICI FAMILY
No Studies!” I was always porting a wife, a husband town, I just didn’t get my
involved in leadership. The senator to-be as a young man, relaxing at home in Albuquerque with his parents, Cheru- and eight kids! person across. I learned
bino and Alda Domenici. We used to do City Coun- from that.
You were also quite a cil things informally at
baseball pitcher, accord- Mori’s Lounge. The actual Why did you become a
ing to lore. Was baseball shine parlors, or bars, or ous to me that you would her. Once that happened, City Council meetings were Republican?
always a part of your groceries and meat mar- have something else in we were never apart. at City Hall, obviously, so
early life? we didn’t have a violation. When it came time to reg-
kets. My father and his mind for your life. So, I
The Journal would have ister to vote, my dad was a
brother came and brought don’t want you to think After law school at the
I played ball since I was gotten us on that one. Republican and Eisenhow-
over here my uncle and put about it anymore.” University of Denver, you
14. And even while I was at er was running. I talked to
him in business with them. Then he waited about a returned to Albuquerque
St. Joe’s (college), I pitched What was it that you my father about it and was
That’s how we bought the week and said, “I want to to practice law. When did
baseball. They didn’t have wanted to accomplish as somewhat motivated by
Montezuma mercantile. help you go to law school, you return to the politi-
much of a team, but we had a city leader? Why did the fact that the party had
but not if it’s another one of cal realm, and how did it
a lot of fun. The people I you run? a wonderful candidate for
Your father had hoped your larks.” He said, “I’ll happen?
played against couldn’t hit president. And that’s really
you would take over make you a deal. I’ll pay for
me because they hadn’t had It was a threat or a dare We wanted to diversify about it. My philosophies
the family grocery, everything. It will be my
all the good fortune I had by five friends — they liter- our job base, because we on different things were
and you wanted to go gift to you so you work at
had. I had played Ameri- ally had it planned. The were just far worse than formulated as I worked at
to law school. How school and not at a job. But
can Legion ball since I was idea was getting me to com- now, dependent on Sandia the job, but I never was sor-
did you reconcile that if I determine you screwed
15. I had fantastic coaches mit to run. It happened at National Laboratories and ry that I was a Republican
disagreement? it up, you’re going to have
— one in particular, was Magidson’s (a former deli the federal government. in Washington.
to pay it all back.”
Leon Palmisano. His daddy That was a very sad part in downtown Albuquerque) And we had made promises
I figure it was the great-
was Joe, and he was a of the relationship between over coffee. I complained a to the part of the city — In 1972, a couple of
est thing he ever did for
major leaguer. For us to him and me, because I lot about city government, mostly in the valley — that years after you lost to
me. He could not have done
be around a major leaguer never really wanted the and they said, “If you don’t had none of the infrastruc- King, you ran for the U.S.
better by me. My dad died
around 15 or 16 — we were business. But when it came run, we don’t want to hear ture that other parts had. Senate and won. What
before he ever saw me elect-
really lucky. right down to him selling it any more complaining.” No swimming pools, a lot compelled you to run?
ed to any public office.
— quitting after 40 years of They said, “We think it’s of unpaved roads, and even
What was your best outhouses within a stone’s I didn’t run because I
hard work — I went to him How did you meet your time for you to run for
pitch? throw of City Hall. We knew anything about the
and said I would change wife, Nancy? public office, and the right
didn’t know how we were job, or because I had a sena-
my mind, and I would learn place to start is City Hall.”
The fastball. It jumped going to do it, but we want- tor that was my idol, but
the business with him. He I met her at the Univer- My wife, dear thing, didn’t
inside to the right. I had ed to clean all that up. I knew what it was like to
answered me, and showed sity of New Mexico. I was know what we were getting
lots of strikeouts. run and I knew that I could
me in hindsight, he had a in biology class. She was into, but she said yes. We
You ran for governor win an election in New
lot of wisdom. He said, “No, a freshman and I was a had six children already
You obviously had a lot for the first time in 1970, Mexico.
Bocci. (Domenici’s nick- junior. I saw her sitting and two more arrived while
of friends. Any particu- but you lost to Demo-
name) “It’s done.” over in a bleacher seat and we were at City Hall.
lar memories from the crat Bruce King. What Did you arrive in Wash-
He said, “It’s been obvi- I figured I had to go meet I said, OK, and eventually
early day jump out? ington with particular
legislative goals or a
There was a little guy, mandate from voters to
Ralph Matteucci, and David accomplish something
Matthews, a star athlete at specific?
Albuquerque High along
with Ralph. Ralph was an I didn’t really run for the
honorable mention All- Senate as a reformer. I had
American as a (football) no big national agenda.
guard. He saved me when I had no awe of the sena-
Bobby Unser and I got into tors who were here. But
a fight. It was about a girl, I did know I needed to
we both wanted her to learn all I could about the
dance with us, and no one laboratories. It was pretty
else — you know how that clear that Los Alamos and
is. He (Unser) used a big Sandia and the Air Force
ring, so Ralph had to call were important (to New
the fight. Matteucci was Mexico). I didn’t get on that
the referee. See this mark committee (that oversaw
on my head? It’s still there. the labs), and I didn’t get
And neither one of us ever on any good committees at
dated her. all. I got on environment
and public works. You’ve
You grew up in Albu- been here long enough
querque as the son of to know that’s an awful
Italian immigrants who appointment. I also got on
arrived in New Mexico at the Interior Committee,
the turn of the century. two years later. It eventu-
Was your ethnicity ever ally became the Energy and
a factor for you socially Natural Resources Com-
when you were growing mittee. It took a long time to
up? get on the Appropriations
Committee.
That’s a great question,
but no it was not. My dad What was it like for
and his brother arrived you coming to a big,
there in 1906, and there powerful city like Wash-
was an Italian community ington after essentially
already there that was siz- being an Albuquerque
able and significant. They JOURNAL FILE
guy your whole life?
had all gone into business Senator-elect Pete Domenici thanks supporters and celebrates his victory in the 1972 election with his wife, Nancy, at his side.
and owned stores or shoe The former Albuquerque city commissioner would go on to win five more terms in the U.S. Senate from New Mexico. It was tough. It was strict-
The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008 7

Q& A

JOURNAL FILE

Domenici and his wife, Nancy, right, and several of their eight children wave to a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in 1978, the year of his first re-election to the U.S. Senate.

ly because of my wonderful very quickly. But it got to be with great staff help led by much what I needed. As and that’s a great relief to as your most memorable
wife, Nancy, and her hard more fun, the more we got (Domenici’s chief-of-staff) long as I stayed interested, me — and to my wife. They moment of moments in
work and dedication as a accustomed to this place Steve Bell. We learned to I could do many things that actually think it could the Senate?
mother to our eight kids, and the more we began to do certain things, using New Mexicans wanted and get better because I’m not
that we were able to make feel comfortable. reconciliation and the needed. taking so many medica- The one that’s most
it. Everything was exorbi- budget resolution, to do tions. I’ve still got plenty of memorable is the breaking
tantly priced, and, at the There were many things — especially raising At one point, during things that bug me — pain ground on and completion
time, the salaries of sena- achievements during or lowering taxes — that the 1988 presidential in my feet, pain in my hips, of the MESA facility at
tors were terribly bad. They your 36-year career, nobody had done with the campaign, then-Presi- pain in my hands and I Sandia. At $491 million, it
didn’t raise the salaries of but one thing that can’t budget committee. And I dent George H.W. Bush can’t seem to find a doc- was the largest construc-
senators in Congress until be overlooked is your became more and more was considering you as tor who can quite fix it. I tion project for DOE at that
a few years later. I was participation on the fed- well-known. It was a great his vice presidential run- think I’ve just got too many point in history. It now
making maybe $38,000 and eral budget process. You and wonderful time of real ning mate. What was things wrong with me. (A houses all of the work done
had to move 10 people here served as chairman or involvement. That was a that like? researcher recently told the on nanotechnology and
(Washington, D.C.) and buy ranking member of the great time to be involved senator he did not believe micro-engineering. That
What I do know now, for was a red-letter day in all
a house. It was so tough Senate Budget Commit- nationally, but what I loved he had frontal lobe disease,
memories, is that I was a respects.
that, at points, you just had tee for more than two most was using the appro- but Domenici says he does
serious candidate. I know
to wonder if you did the decades. Why was that so priations process (on the not regret his decision to
what it’s like to be seriously Is there something
right thing for your family, important to you? Appropriations Committee) retire.)
vetted. There are a lot of you view as your single
but it turned out all right. to help New Mexico. I made
The budget committee people involved in the pro- greatest legislative
I was very stressed, and I a lot of friends in both the Looking back on your
during my time became an cess that I didn’t know. And accomplishment?
started to see the value of executive branch and Con- long career, do you have
instrument of real power, when it came right down to
having a really good staff gress and I could get pretty any particular regrets I think people will give
the end of it — and lots of
or a sense that you me some credit for the
hard work — while the feel-
could have done things renaissance of nuclear pow-
ing outside was positive, we
differently? er in the world, combined
had a feeling it wasn’t going
to happen. It got more than There are so many with the Energy Policy Act
its share of notoriety, and it things if I just sat down of 2005. And the legislative
was exciting. But I was des- and thought about it, that I jump-start of the genome
tined, it seems to me, to be wished I would have done, project, which I was talked
a legislator. That’s what I’m but let me just say it like into doing by a great array
good at, and I’m still good this. All things considered, of scientists in New Mex-
at it as I leave. I think what surprises me ico, because the National
is how I was able to do so Institutes of Health were
You spent most of many different things that languishing. We did that
your last term in a fair don’t put me in one niche. without the assistance of
amount of pain, whether the executive branch. So,
it was nerve damage in Do you have any politi- I would say — to be fair
your hand, arthritis in cal heroes? to everyone — that I don’t
your back or other ail- have one but I have two.
ments. You ultimately In the United States Sen-
decided to retire after ate there were three. One What has it meant to
being diagnosed with a was a Democrat named you to be able to serve
degenerative brain dis- Sam Nunn (of Georgia). the state of New Mexico
ease. How much did your Some of the things he was for so long?
health hamper you the doing I liked very much —
last years in office? in the areas of defense and When you know you have
(nuclear) non-proliferation. the people supporting you,
Because of that diagnosis On the Republican side, you have a certain power
and lots of other things, I Howard Baker (of Tennes- that is hard to describe, but
decided not to run. I will see). Much of the work on it really permits you to do
make it clear that it was the budget was done when difficult things. I felt that,
not just that diagnosis, it he was the Republican and by getting such broad
was lots of other things that leader and I was the chair- support, especially to have
were bothering me (physi- man. That put a real bond so many people from both
cally) and my age seemed to between us. Also, Bob Dole parties supporting you
be creeping up on me much was a hero of mine. He was gives you an inordinate
faster than some others. a master legislator I spent sense of strength. I never
But the disease that I almost as much time in his thought I was going to get
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
have, called frontal lobe office as I did in mine. to know the people of this
disease, has been deter- state like I have. That is a
Vice President George H.W. Bush swears in Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., for a third term in the mined not to be moving, What would you recall terrific thing.
U.S. Senate in 1985.


Pete Domenici was a good, hard-working, mainstream conservative who believed in lower taxes and lower spending, and when I was in office, he
voted that way. We tried to get spending under control and he took a lot of heat for it because he was the chairman of the budget committee.
When we came to Congress, a Republican was someone who wanted lower taxes and lower spending. It wasn’t very complicated. Also, Pete
was always trying to broaden the party by including Hispanics and others, not narrow it like it is now. I don’t know what Pete’s going to do
now, but he did a good job in the Senate and it wasn’t aways easy for him in Washington having a big family like he did. He could have gone
off and made a lot of money doing something else, but he loved his work.
Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader
8 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico


Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

Fiscal ‘common sense’ During his more than of the Gipper’s spending cuts intended
brought balance to budget four decades in elected
office, Senator Pete Domeni-
to help balance the federal budget. He
was a tough but fair adversary.
Journal Staff Report Congress. ship,” Hoagland said. ci demonstrated time and He hasn’t changed much. Last year, I

S
Hoagland, in a recent con- Domenici described ham-
en. Pete Domenici versation, defined the guid- mering out the agreement again that he was a public witnessed that same independence and
first rose to national ing light of Domenici’s efforts over a period of several
prominence in over those years of trying to weeks in his small “hide- servant who took a long-range approach resolve when he voiced strong support
the early 1980s as balancing the federal budget away,” or secondary office in
chairman of the Senate to addressing complicated issues such for the Iraq Study Group report despite
as his “fundamental common U.S. Capitol. Aides hustled
Budget Committee and, in sense.” in and out, day and night, as energy, nuclear proliferation, and our opposition from some in his party. Pete
1997, Congress approved the “He was raised in a con- carrying ledger sheets and
first balanced budget in more servative environment,” agency budget requests. federal budget. He did so with a laser- stands up for what he thinks is right. He
than three decades. Hoagland said. “You didn’t “There should be a sign on
It was a historic achieve-
like focus on results rather than allow calls them as he sees them.
spend more than you took in. the door saying, ‘the balanced
ment under Domenici’s I think the concept of accu- budget was negotiated in this himself to become distracted by ideo- Today, it seems, too many inside the
leadership, soon undone by a mulating debt and burdening room,’” Domenici said. “Newt
freer-spending Congress. future generations haunted Gingrich was the point man logical battles that too often undermine Washington beltway want to debate how
Former Senate Budget Com- him.” on the House side. It was the
mittee staff director G. Wil- In his speech to the legacy biggest instrument of (fiscal)
efforts to reach a national consensus. many angels can dance on the head of
liam Hoagland, in an address conference, Hoagland said, change that we’d ever had. Of Pete possesses a keen political mind this pin or that. Pete prefers to bridge
to the Domenici Legacy “Through the struggles, Sen- course, members set a lot of it
Conference at New Mexico ator Domenici remained solid aside two years later when it that compartmentalizes emotions from the divide and “get things done.”
State University in August, in his beliefs. Like a family, started pinching (their budget
compared Domenici’s budget a business, a university, or a requests).”
analysis. In this way, he resembles most Ameri-
efforts to the Myth of Sisy- state, he recognized that the Domenici said President- As chief of staff to President Ronald cans who want to fix problems rather
phus — the story of a mortal federal government can not elect Barack Obama might
condemned by the gods to roll long sustain an imbalance in want to dust off the mecha- Reagan during his first term, I saw how than just argue about them.
a huge boulder up the side of a what it takes in and what it nisms that he and then-Pres- independent and resolute he could be.
mountain, only to have it roll spends. ident Clinton used, at least James A. Baker III,
back down again. “Finding that balance has temporarily, to balance the As the influential chairman of the Senate former White House chief of staff, treasury


But the 1997 effort estab- required dedication, hard federal budget.
lished what Sen. Jeff Binga- work, diligence, pragmatism, “I believe the model we set Budget Committee, Pete opposed some secretary and secretary of state

man, D-N.M., and others call perseverance and maybe might be the one they can
the modern budget process in above all else, bipartisan- use,” Domenici said.

www.joemonahan.com “The City Commission,
Staff and the Citizens
of Aztec express their
heartfelt thanks and grati-
tude for all the Senator’s
hard work and efforts in acquiring funding
for various projects that have contributed
greatly to the well being of Aztec.”

www.joemonahan.com

Thanks For Being
A Great Advocate
For The People
of New Mexico WOULD LIKE TO SAY

The Bregman Law Firm, PC
“THANK YOU”
FOR SENATOR
PETE DOMENICI’S 36 YEARS “Senator Domenici, we thank you for your vision, statesmanship and
keen understanding of the potential of a highly selective university
SENATOR DOMENICI...YOUR CONTRIBUTION OF SERVICE to engage in projects of national and international significance.”
TO OUR STATE WILL BE FELT FOR MANY Dr. Daniel López
GENERATIONS TO COME. VISIT US AT: WWW.NMMU.COM President, New Mexico Tech

O N E a nd To Our Senator:
To ourgratitude, an ONLY, We admire you…
Pride, d love We are grateful for all your accomplishments…

ea r t s of the only four people in th We pray for continued blessings and happiness…
eh “ BR e wo
l t h
fl that can ca ll yo u O T H ER”. rld
We wish you much success in all your
future endeavors…

Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education

New Mexico - Nevada - Texas • www.dpsdesign.org

LEGAL CHAMPION OF THE POOR Thel m
You are one of Saint Mary’s shinning stars…

A n n God speed and God bless!
a , M a r y, nd Ro s e
Dear Senator Pete: S is t e r Ne l l a , a Your Saint Mary’s School
As those of us who have worked with you for over 30 years and
who knew the situation, you have been the champion of legal
services for the poor and a stalwart supporter in the Congress of
the Legal Services Corporation which funds legal aid programs in
all of the states including state-wide New Mexico Legal Aid and
DNA-Peoples Legal Services. We thank and honor you for your
concern for the poor and for your wonderful accomplishments.

John D. Robb, Albuquerque

Sarah M. Singleton, Santa Fe Tom Growney Equipment
• Quality
• Integrity
• Reliability
Since 1966

Senator Pete Domenici
• Quality
• Integrity
• Reliability
Left to right are N.M. Bar President, Craig Orraj, Pete, and American Bar
Association President, Tom Wells presenting a special ABA legal aid award Since 1972
in Washington D.C., on April 16, 2008.
“Thank You”
The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008 9

Renewed Energy
Domenici Made Reviving Nuclear Power His Personal Crusade
By John Fleck this country. Critics say that to flesh out the general out- decade ago. A Department of
Journal Staff Writer may never happen because line of a nuclear power policy Energy effort, instigated by

S
of the cost of nuclear power agenda leading up to the Domenici in the intervening
en. Pete Domenici and problems with reactor Harvard speech. years, has stalled.
returned to his Wash- safety and radioactive waste. Domenici immediately But other measures driven
ington, D.C., office But both sides agree that, if it asked Lyons to arrange brief- by the New Mexico senator
late one evening in there is an American renais- ings with nuclear power have become law, and under-
October 1997 after a meeting sance for nuclear power, Pete experts. It repeated a theme pin the progress being made
with congressional budget Domenici will have played that can be seen through the toward the construction of
leaders. a central role in making it senator’s career, say those nuclear power plants.
For more than two decades possible. who have worked closely
in Congress, balancing the New licensing procedures
And Domenici has no doubt with him — a voracious written into law by Domenici
federal budget had been which side of that argument curiosity that drove him to
Domenici’s personal crusade. eliminated one of the key
he falls on. assemble groups of experts roadblocks used in the past
That night, he saw numbers to help him understand the
that made him think the bud- by reactor opponents to block
A call to arms issues he was grappling with. new plants.
get monster had finally been C. Paul Robinson, the
tamed. Domenici in October 1997 los alamos national laboratory/AP
former director of Sandia Legislation in recent years
“I think the budget is going still had a year of work left Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., has been a major supporter of Los National Laboratories who has also offered subsidies
to be balanced next year,” on the problem of balanc- Alamos National Laboratory, shown here, as well as a leading once served as a U.S. arms and loan guarantees for the
Domenici told his aides. “I’ve ing the federal budget, but control negotiator, remem- first companies willing to
advocate of the peaceful uses of nuclear power.
been working on that for 25 he was already setting bers well the experience of risk sticking their necks out
years. What am I going to do his sights on the next big getting quizzed by Domenici to build the first new nuclear
two decades since anyone Domenici typically pres-
next?” problem. on a technical subject. power plants, and industry
had tried to build a nuclear ents himself with the aw-
The answer he and his staff Staff members who were “Every time you went in, it officials say those entice-
power plant in this country. shucks demeanor of the
came up with that night was involved describe a frenzy was like an oral examination ments have been central
A combination of fears of the former school teacher and
nuclear power. Domenici of work as they tried to flesh for your Ph.D.,” Robinson to their ability to move for-
waste problem and high costs small-city lawyer he once
would spearhead a renais- out a set of policy proposals said. ward. Domenici also pushed
scared away investors. was. It is sleight of hand, dis-
sance of nuclear power. in time for a hastily arranged The style reached far through extension of the fed-
“Today,” Domenici said in guising a penetrating intel-
Just one month later, speech at Harvard Universi- beyond nuclear energy. On eral law that helps provide
the 1997 Harvard speech, “it lect, former staffers say. But,
Domenici strode into the hall ty’s Belfer Center for Science an average day, said Alex nuclear power plants with
is extraordinarily difficult to in addition, he has always
at the annual meeting of the and International Affairs. Flint, another former aide insurance against accidents.
conduct a debate on nuclear had a talent for surrounding
American Nuclear Society Domenici laid out a vision himself with an extraordi- and member of Domenici’s Critics, like Arjun Makhi-
in Albuquerque to a stand- issues,” he said. “Usually, the
of nuclear power playing a narily smart staff. in-house nuclear brain trust, jani of the Institute for
ing ovation. Nuclear power, only thing produced is nasty
vital role in addressing the “Domenici probably had four Energy and Environmental
he argued, could provide a political fallout.” “I acknowledge,” he said in
problems of climate change or five meetings with experts Research, a think tank that
safe, clean, reliable, domestic It quickly became known to an interview, “that they were
and the nation’s energy on different things.” opposes nuclear power, com-
source of energy to meet the members of the U.S. nuclear smarter than me.”
future. “I think it’s very much a plain that nuclear power
nation’s growing needs. power community simply as As Domenici’s push for a
“When I came to the Senate skill that he has,” Lyons said should be made to stand on
“My intention,” he said, “the Harvard speech.” nuclear renaissance took
a quarter of a century ago,” in an interview. “It’s one that its own two economic feet,
“is to lead a new dialogue. “That was, quite frankly, shape, Lyons was at the
Domenici said in the speech, he’s cultivated.” not subsidized by the fed-
I intend to provide national a call to arms,” recalled senator’s elbow. A former
“we debated our dependence eral government. Without
leadership to overcome Jim Lake, who served as senior leader of Los Ala-
on foreign sources of energy. Progress still needed the subsidies engineered by
barriers.” president of the American mos National Laboratory’s
We discussed energy inde- Domenici, Makhijani argued
The results can be seen Nuclear Society in the years nuclear weapons program, To look back on the Har-
pendence, but we largely in a recent interview, nuclear
today inside the gleaming following Domenici’s speech. Lyons was plucked from the vard speech through the lens
decided not to talk about power will go nowhere
Rockville, Md., headquarters nuclear policy options in weapons program and thrust of a decade’s history is to see because it is expensive com-
of the U.S. Nuclear Regula- public.”
Surrounded by experts into a national policy role in part a vision that has not pared with alternatives.
tory Commission. There, It was a provocative state- To understand Pete when Domenici lured him yet been fulfilled. “Nuclear power is very
workers have begun review- ment, and largely correct. To Domenici’s approach to the to Washington to work as a Domenici’s call for a new likely to be economically
ing applications for 26 new the extent that nuclear power making of U.S. nuclear power Congressional Fellow. approach to nuclear waste obsolete before the first (new)
U.S. nuclear power plants was on the government poli- policy, it is instructive to Lyons, who now serves on — reprocessing it, extract- power plant comes on line,”
— the first such applications cy agenda at the time, much spend some time with Pete the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory ing usable nuclear material Makhijani said.
since 1979. of the discussion surrounded Lyons, a 65-year-old Caltech Commission, was there that that can be turned back into Domenici, not surprisingly,
Advocates say the applica- the stalled Yucca Mountain physicist-turned nuclear October night and was part nuclear fuel, reducing waste disagrees. “Nuclear,” he said
tions mark the beginning of nuclear waste disposal site weaponeer-turned national of a frenzy of work that went in the process — appears as in a recent interview, “is on
a nuclear power expansion in in Nevada. It had been nearly nuclear power policy leader. on in the weeks that followed far from reality as it was a its way.”

The CiTy of

would
A CONTINUING like to thank
HISTORY OF Sen. Domenici for his tireless
ACCOMPLISHMENT work and countless contributions
to our community.
In honor of Dr. Randy Lovelace, “View the Past, Explore the Future” www.ci.alamogordo.nm.us
who put New Mexico on the map
in the world of biomedical research,
we want to recognize
another great New Mexican. We salute
Senator Pete Domenici
Thank you, Senator Pete Domenici, for his national leadership
for your tireless work to promote on energy issues
science and research in our state. and decades of service
to New Mexico.
Photo courtesy of the New Mexico Dept of Tourism - Jim Stein

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

www.LRRI.org

Curing Respiratory Disease
10 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

Champion of N.M.’s labs
Played key role in exported from Russia to the
west means that 10 percent of
the electricity in the United
said Alex Flint, a Domenici
aide at the time.
Science was to be the alter-
nonproliferation, changing States is now generated by
burning uranium once found
native, a team of program
managers in the labs and
weapons testing in nuclear warheads built to
destroy us.
the Department of Energy
concluded, and they turned
from behind the gates for a In New Mexico, Domenici’s to Domenici to help shape the
By John Fleck
news conference. greatest lasting nuclear program and win congressio-
Journal Staff Writer

P
Built at Los Alamos, the weapons program legacy nal approval.
ete Domenici loves to plutonium weapon core was might be obscure to the gen- It was that scientific
tell the story of Sun- the culmination of more eral public but has become approach that led in the sum-
day drives as a boy in than a decade of work in a central to the nuclear mer of 2007 back to Domeni-
the family’s Packard program that marks a funda- weapons establishment: ci’s visit to Los Alamos, for a
up into the Jemez Mountains mental rethinking of how the Science-Based Stockpile ceremony marking the com-
northwest of Albuquerque. United States designs, builds journal file Stewardship. pletion of the first plutonium
On more than one occasion and maintains its nuclear Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Energy Secretary Samuel Bod- Rather than testing nuclear weapon cores built
in the years after World War arsenal. It is an effort that man, center, tour Sandia National Laboratories in 2006. nuclear weapons by blowing without ever being able to
II, they drove to the gates of a would probably not exist if them up, it uses scientific conduct a test blast to ensure
mysterious closed city on the not for the efforts of Pete nuclear era. Senate colleagues Sam Nunn tools — lab testing and com- the design and manufactur-
hill, where the guards would Domenici. Domenici had always been and Richard Lugar to craft puter simulations — to try to ing processes worked.
wave them away. During the Cold War, the a staunch supporter of nucle- legislation helping remove ensure that the weapons will And Domenici, observers
“Big things are happening three U.S. national laborato- ar deterrence and defense, nuclear materials from the work if called on. said at the time, deserved
up there in Los Alamos,” he ries responsible for nuclear recalled Sig Hecker, a former former Soviet Union, taking With the Soviet Union gone credit for helping make it
remembers his father, Cheru- weapons — Los Alamos director of Los Alamos. But them out of the hands of a and America’s appetite for an happen.
bino, telling him. “America’s and Sandia in New Mexico, the senator’s hand never former enemy and out of the aggressive nuclear weapons “He was the primary con-
doing big things there.” and Lawrence Livermore in really grabbed for a spot on reach of potential terrorists. program gone with it, senior gressional figure in fashion-
In July 2007, Domenici was California — largely enjoyed the tiller of nuclear weapons Nunn, the former Georgia Energy Department officials ing the stockpile stewardship
one of a handful of people bipartisan support. policy until the 1990s, when senator who now runs the were looking in the early program,” Hecker recalled.
allowed through those Los the old bipartisan consensus nonprofit Nuclear Threat 1990s for a way to maintain “They could never have
But that began to change nuclear weapons without the pulled it off without Domeni-
Alamos National Laboratory that supported the labs and Initiative think tank, called
as the Soviet Union began
gates to see the big things for nuclear deterrence, rooted Domenici an “indispensable regular design and explosive ci in Congress,” Hecker said.
unraveling in the late 1980s,
himself. He looked on as a in the opposition to commu- player in the post-Cold War testing of new weapons. For
and funding began slipping,
lab worker officially certified nism, evaporated. effort to protect the Ameri- the nuclear weapons labs,
recalled C. Paul Robinson, a
one of the first plutonium If you look at the nuclear can people.” both in terms of budget and
former senior manager of the Senator and Mrs. Domenici,
nuclear weapon cores of the weapons and nonprolifera- in terms of a way to maintain
Los Alamos nuclear weapons Hecker, who worked hand- I am grateful that I was able
post-Cold War era. tion landscape today, though, the U.S. nuclear stockpile,
program and president of in-hand with Domenici on to work in your DC office as
“It was certified in our Domenici’s role is visible the changing environment
Sandia National Laborato- nonproliferation efforts, a legal intern, and with your
presence,” said a beaming everywhere. posed serious problems. offices for the past 20 years.
ries whose career parallels likes to point out that the
Domenici after emerging In nuclear nonprolifera- “We really considered this Mil gracias!
Domenici’s throughout the weapons-grade uranium
tion, Domenici teamed with to be a crisis at the time,” Christina Chavez Kelley

The City of
Senator Pete Domenici
Thanks for RATON We send our prayerful best wishes
and gratitude for a job well done!
36 years of Proclaims
always putting December 2008
New Mexico first! SENATOR
PETE DOMENICI
New Mexico Math Engineering Science MONTH
Your friends at New Mexico First
Achievement Inc. extends gratitude for
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan
Senator Domenici’s years of service and the clergy, religious, and laity of
support for our organization. THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SANTA FE

Lending. Supporting. Inspiring.

ACCION thanks
THANK YOU
Senator Domenici Senator Domenici
for supporting so many for your support
small business dreams of the City of
in New Mexico. Artesia, New Mexico.
Call ACCION today for Best wishes in
business loans and support.
your retirement.
505-243-8844
Or apply online at www.accionnm.org

Client, Saul Manriquez, owner
New Mexico · Arizona · Colorado Carniceria la Especial

With gratitude and admiration
NMSU thanks
Senator Pete Domenici
for his years of public service

Thank You
Senator Domenici
for being instrumental in making
Las Cruces a dynamic city!
Mayor & City Council

New Mexico State University
Home of The Pete V. Domenici Legacy Project

Domenici.nmsu.edu • 575-646-2821
City of Las Cruces
®

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE
The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008 11

A final battle
Victory on mental illness act came at last minute for Domenici
By Olivier
Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer

P
ete Domenici capped
his 36-year Senate
career in October with
a political victory for
which he had all but given up
hope.
The measure, dubbed the
Mental-Health Parity Act,
recognizes mental illness
as a disease on a par with
cancer and heart disease. It’s
been hailed as landmark leg-
islation for mental health.
For the longtime New
Mexico senator, passage of
the act fulfilled more than
a decade of hard work lit-
tered with false starts and
disappointments.
“I almost didn’t get it,”
Domenici said in an inter-
view in late 2008.
In 1996, Domenici cam-
paigned hard for an earlier
version of the mental health
parity legislation, winning
passage in the Senate but
watching it die in the House.
When the new parity act
takes effect in 2010, it will
require health insurers to
pay for mental health and
substance-abuse services at
the same level as those for
physical illnesses.
It bars health insurers
from limiting treatment for COURTESY PHOTO
mental-health and substance
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., with Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., announce a 2007 breakthrough on mental health legislation.


abuse in ways that differ
from medical and surgical
coverage. Domenici says ing symptoms of schizophre-
the law will help correct a nia at age 17.
long-held bias against mental Domenici became an advo-
illness. cate for the National Alliance
of Mental Illness, or NAMI,
“There is no longer this
excuse that we can’t diagnose after he and his wife began Four hallmarks
regularly attending NAMI
the illness and we can’t ame-
meetings and came to know
of the
liorate its negative effects
with medication,” Domenici many families affected by
mental illness.
Domenici
said. “The proper treatment
can help.” “I spent the early part of
my advocacy for the mentally
legacy can
For too long, he said, insur-
ance companies have treated ill trying to get the (congres- be sum-
mental illness differently sional) appropriators to put
than other diseases. But sci- more into the National Insti- marized in four words:
ence has removed much of tutes of Mental Health than
the mystery from mental ill- they wanted to,” he said. budget, energy, nuclear
In 1998, Domenici secured
ness. Enough is now known
about major mental illnesses $50 million in federal fund- and labs. ... Few can
ing to create a research
such as schizophrenia, bipo-
lar disorders and depression consortium call the Mind match his record of
Research Network to help
to treat them as medical con-
ditions, he said. scientists “solve some of the accomplishment, and,
great mysteries of the brain,”
The parity measure was
as Domenici once said. I think it’s safe to say,
approved as part of the $700
The consortium, includ-
billion financial rescue plan
ing the University of New
the respect and affec-
signed Oct. 3 by President
Bush. Domenici estimates
Mexico, Harvard University
and the University of Minne-
tion the citizens of a
that the law will affect
480,000 New Mexicans.
journal file
sota, uses cutting-edge imag-
ing technology to study the
state have for their
It is named for Domenici
and the late Sen. Paul Well- Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., hugs his daughter, Clare, during a celebration in his honor at the brain, particularly in regard senator and his family.
to mental illness and brain
Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque in April.
stone, Domenici’s original
partner in the push for the
injuries. A life in the public eye
At UNM, the MRN is
mental health legislation.
After Wellstone’s death
abnormality,” said Eddy D. ity law, but it specifically passage. housed in a complex called decently conducted
Broadway, CEO of Value excludes drug and alcohol “It finally passed, and I Pete and Nancy Domenici
in a 2002 plane accident,
Sens. Edward M. Kennedy,
Options New Mexico. treatment. think it’s high time that it Hall. and gracefully conclud-
The law could also result “Many New Mexicans have did,” said Foley, who helped Much work needs to be
D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, in an expansion of mental substance abuse and alcohol lobby for mental health done to improve the lives of ed makes us proud.”
R-Wyo., helped Domenici health and substance abuse problems,” Sievert said. “I legislation since the 1980s. the mentally ill, Domenici
push the measure through services, said Dr. Michael think (the law) is going to “People need treatment, they said. He hopes Congress will
the Senate. Sievert, medical director for allow many individuals in need intervention.”
Sen. Jeff Bingaman,
approve funding for com-
Mental health profession- behavioral health for Presby- New Mexico who are in need The law passed because munity-based mental health D-N.M.
als say the law should help terian Healthplan. of these services to actually Domenici spent years work- care, including housing and From speech delivered to the
dispel the stigma associ- “Once they are paid for, access them and to use those ing for it, Foley said. treatment facilities. Domenici Legacy Conference,
ated with mental illness and you’re going to see more services to improve their “He’s been the driving “There are more people in New Mexico State University,


encourage more people to providers that are willing to lives.” force,” Foley said. “He was jail tonight (with mental ill- August 2008
seek treatment. bring up and pay for those John Foley, former execu- the one that pushed it and ness) than there are in facili-
“I think, as this becomes services,” Sievert said. tive director of the Associa- kept pushing it.” ties for the mentally ill,” he
more of a mainstream ben- The new federal law also tion of Retarded Citizens of Domenici has a deep and said. “The nation needs to
efit, people will utilize the has special significance for New Mexico, cheered pas- personal understanding of commit itself to improving
service and not view (mental New Mexico. The state has sage of the parity law and mental health issues. One of the status of the mentally
illness) as some kind of an its own mental health par- credited Domenici with its his daughters began develop- ill.”

Domenici was advocate
for N.M. acequias
By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer
water engineering took hold
in New Mexico in the 20th

The stability and growth and
diversification of work
at the national laborato-
ries: Certainly those are
monumental. But there are
than just waterworks. Northern New
Mexico has a deep mystical attachment
to those even today.
... Domenici had this ease, ability of
connecting with Hispanics ... He just

I
century.
n summing up Pete The giant concrete dams things that affected people developed this attachment with people
Domenici’s contributions
to New Mexico, it would
of the 20th century now down in the valley, so to speak. (Like) — including me.
found up and down the Rio
be easy to forget the Grande and its tributaries the South Valley sewer project. People With Domenici, greatness isn’t about
acequias, the old water
ditches that spiderweb
were largely built with fed- forget what the Valley was like without a the monuments. It’s just about the
eral government help. But
outward from the rivers of Domenici said in an inter- sewer system. That was a monumental simple things in life that he turned into
Northern New Mexico into
the villages that cover every
view that, when he took undertaking, shepherded by Domenici. monuments.
office, he was dismayed to
farmable bit of bottomland. learn the smaller tradition- Another thing that he will forever be in
Fred Vigil, chairman of Lou Gallegos,
the New Mexico Acequia
al acequia style of irrigation the hearts of northern New Mexico His-
was not eligible for the same former chief of staff for Domenici
Commission, wants you to sort of federal help. panics for was the acequias. He stuck and Gov. Gary Johnson, former
remember.
Acequias are New Mexi-
Domenici pushed through with those projects through thick and assistant secretary of U.S. Department of
laws that changed that. Agriculture, former assistant
co’s oldest irrigation works, And he provided funding thin. Domenici almost innately under- secretary of U.S. Department of
as much community cultur-
al institutions as they are four centuries ago, they
through his long-standing stood the cultural significance of these Interior, former secretary of state Human
position on the Senate’s Services Department
economic tools. Based on predate the sort of politi- Energy and Water Appro- waterworks — because they’re more
technologies and political cal, legal and engineering priations Subcommittee.
systems brought here by the water solutions grafted on “He did a lot of work for
first Spanish immigrants later as large-scale western the acequias,” Vigil said.
12 The Sunday Journal DOMENICI: A Man For New Mexico Albuquerque, December 7, 2008

Pete Domenici
Thank you for your many years of service in helping
New Mexico Municipalities prosper.

Visionary
Due to the vision of Senator Pete Domenici, the
National Enrichment Facility, outside Eunice, NM, is
a reality.

Committed
His commitment to the nuclear renaissance will help
make this country energy independent.

Dedicated
Senator Domenici has dedicated over four decades
of service to the citizens of our country and state.

Thank you Senator Domenici
For the reasons listed above and many more, LES
proudly celebrated the dedication of the Pete V.

for your vision, leadership, and Domenici Separation Building on October 24, 2008.

tireless support of innovation and Thank you Senator Domenici, and best wishes to
you and your family.
technology in New Mexico. www.nefnm.com
LES building and operating the National Enrichment Facility
©2008 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved. Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. providing energy independence for America