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SANTA FE — As part of this column’s centennial coverage, I am pleased to write about colorful legislators. I may miss a few from the early days before I arrived on the scene.
I begin with Louise Coe, the first woman elected to the state Senate. Her political rise was not easy. Women had attained the right to vote only six years earlier. Coe went on to become president pro tem of the Senate. She is the only woman ever elected to that position.
A strong, determined woman, Coe married into a Lincoln County ranching family that included George and Frank Coe who rode with Billy the Kid. Her husband Wilber Coe stayed home to run the Coe’s Ranch on the Ruidoso, the title of Wilbur’s autobiography.
Because of Coe’s unaccompanied status in Santa Fe, many stories grew around her, some of which she confesses in her book, “Lady and the Law Books.”
In 1940, she left the Legislature to run unsuccessfully for Congress.
Former state Rep. Tweeti Blancett, was part of a longtime San Juan County ranching family also related to the Coes. Tweeti had a rather brief but colorful career in the Legislature and still appears in the news occasionally complaining about how natural gas developers treat her ranchland.
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