SANTA FE (AP) — Republican House speaker Don Tripp announced Wednesday that he will retire from the Legislature as he passes his leadership post to a Democrat in January.
The 70-year-old jewelry maker and GOP stalwart has served in the Legislature since 1999, stepping into the top leadership slot in the House of Representatives in 2015 after Republicans won control of the chamber for the first time in six decades.
In November elections, Democrats reclaimed control of the House and extended their majority in the Senate. Santa Fe Democrat Brian Egolf has been nominated by Democratic colleagues as the next speaker, pending confirmation by the full House.
From his jewelry store in Socorro, Tripp said he will retire Jan. 17 on the first day of the legislative session as he hands over the ceremonial gavel to Egolf.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez will name a successor to fill Tripp's legislative seat through the next general election in 2018, based on suggestions from county commissioners in Tripp's district. The district spans Socorro, Valencia and Catron counties.