William Pratt, latecomer to New Mexico Statehouse, dies

December 27, 2019 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Physician and political latecomer William Pratt, who helped expand Democrats’ majority in the New Mexico House with his election last year, has died. He was 84.

Daniel Marzec, a spokesman for House Speaker Brian Egolf, said Pratt died Wednesday in Albuquerque from complications related to a stroke.

Pratt joined the Legislature by appointment in 2018 and then was elected to fill the seat held for 24 years by Republican Rep. Larry Larrañaga. Larrañaga died in October 2018 just months after his retirement from the Legislature.

Pratt served in a northeastern Albuquerque district where registered Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats. At least two Republicans and two Democrats have indicated they’ll run for the seat in 2020 after Pratt said he would not seek reelection.

Egolf said in a statement that Pratt’s legislative stint and long career in medicine showed a dedication to public service.

Democratic Rep. Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque said Pratt helped enact prohibitions on gender-based medical insurance charges and backed new requirements for mental health coverage.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Pratt had quickly established himself as a valued voice in the Legislature.

There are 45 Democrats and 24 Republicans in the state House of Representatives.