First Hispanic speaker of the Colorado House passes away

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage

FILE – In this Feb. 3, 1977 file photo, Ruben Valdez, the first Hispanic speaker of the Colorado House and a former regional director of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is shown meeting with President Jimmy Carter, center, and Art Torres, left, a California State representative, in Washington. Colorado Politics reports that Valdez died Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, at the age of 82. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)

DENVER (AP) — Ruben Valdez, the first Hispanic speaker of the Colorado House and a former regional director of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has died. He was 82.

Colorado Politics reports that Valdez died Tuesday.

A Trinidad, Colorado native, Valdez was a Democratic state representative for west and southwest Denver from 1971 to 1978.

He was House speaker in 1975 and 1976.

Valdez served in the transportation department under the Jimmy Carter administration. He also worked as executive director of Colorado’s Department of Social Services and Department of Labor and Employment.

Valdez’s wife, Virginia, died in 1999. He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial were pending.

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