By Tony Parra
Edward Chavez, a member of the New Mexico supreme court, visited Portales on Friday, a place he once called home.
Chavez was touring the eastern part of New Mexico and visited with other people from the community at the Stephen Doerr/Randy Knudson law firm, midday Friday. Chavez was born in Santa Fe, but graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1978.
“I would not have been able to accomplish the things I accomplished without the guidance of a small community,” Chavez said. “The speech teachers were great. Eastern provided for me a foundation. I owe a lot to Professor Ross Sanchez, who taught law subjects. He had a small practice office and let me help him out with cases. He inspired me to become a lawyer.”
After graduating from ENMU, Chavez obtained his law degree from the University of New Mexico in 1981.
“I’ve known Ed for a long time,” said Randy Knudson, a Portales attorney. “We were both members of the New Mexico trial lawyers. We worked together with other friends of mine.”
Chavez said he graduated from high school when he was 16 and attended ENMU. Chavez was the president of Help Our Race Advance (AHORA), a Hispanic organization.
“I have spent a lot of time telling college, high school and elementary students the importance of getting an education,” Chavez said. “I’ve been telling them a strong work ethic is necessary. I believe you need to be honest and trustworthy. If you tell someone that you are going to do it, are you doing it?”
The drive down Highway 70 brought back memories for Chavez and his wife, Sandra, whom he met while they were attending ENMU.
“The best blessing in my life happened here,” Chavez said. “I met my wife here. When we were driving into Portales we saw the student-married housing (west campus) and it brought back memories. I was in awe when I saw a banner welcoming me.”
Chavez was Gov. Bill Richardson’s first appointee to the supreme court on Jan 30, 2003. Chavez said his first day on the job was on March 10.
Chavez is seeking re-election in November to serve as a supreme court justice until 2006. Chavez, a Democrat, is running against Republican Ned Fuller.