David Norvell, who made history as New Mexico’s youngest House speaker, passed away at his Albuquerque residence on Thursday after battling a prolonged ailment. He was 88 years old.
His passing was officially confirmed by House Democrats on Friday. They recalled Norvell’s unwavering commitment to public service throughout his career.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, of the same political party, remembered Norvell as both a trusted advisor and a dear friend, having collaborated with him over the years.
Norvell’s political ascent began with his role as attorney general in the early 1970s. He secured a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1962, representing Curry County. By 1969, he had risen to the position of speaker after serving as the majority floor leader.
Born in Missouri and brought up in Oklahoma, Norvell pursued his legal studies at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, as highlighted by reports.
His political journey took a turn in 1972 when he competed in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, though he faced defeat against former state Rep. Jack Daniels. Daniels, however, later lost to Republican Pete Domenici in the main election.
Upon concluding his political duties, Norvell transitioned to a private legal practice in Albuquerque. In 1976, he faced legal scrutiny over allegations tied to a water well matter. The charges against him, including financial discrepancies in his tax returns and an alleged monetary transaction, were eventually contested and he was found not guilty.
Norvell leaves behind his wife, Gail Chasey, the current House majority leader.
Further details about the commemorative services will be announced post the holiday season.