New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2004
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Fabian Chavez
Local journalist Larry Calloway says "Fabian Chavez is pushing 80. That's years, but it might as well be miles an hour because this is one longtime New Mexico political figure who is not slowing down. Credit his love of the process of representative government that began when he was a teenager working as a page for the New Mexico Legislature."
Fabian served with the 153rd Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army. He earned 5 battle stars in Normandy, Northern France, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of the Rhine and Central Europe.
Fabian was elected to the New Mexico House in 1950 at age 26. He served 8 years in the Senate and the last four years as majority leader. In 1961 Senator Chavez managed to secure a $25,000 appropriation for the creation of a two year basic science school at UNM. In 1965, the state approved the expansion of this two-year school into a four-year medical school. The UNM School of Medicine honors Senator Chavez for the invaluable role he played in the creation of the school through the Senator Fabian Chavez Endowed Chair for Population Health Research.
He went into the stock brokering business until Gov. Bruce King made Fabian state tourist director in 1971. Then. he served as director of the old Department of Development. He went on to serve President Jimmy Carter as assistant Commerce Secretary for Tourism. He later returned to Santa Fe as a lobbyist.
He recently resigned as an elected member of the Public Employees Retirement Association board. Fabian was the state superintendent of insurance from 1985-95. And, Governor Richardson recently recruited him as the policy holders' representative on the board of the New Mexico Mutual Casualty Co. This semi-public insurer, created by the legislature, was Fabian's response to a workers compensation insurance crisis back
in the 80's.