Eric Youngberg, a former state legislator, died unexpectedly in his Albuquerque home in late January. He was 43.
During his three terms in the state House of Representatives from 2003-2008, Youngberg was especially remembered as the co-chairman, along with Majority Leader Ken Martinez, of the House Judiciary Committee, which in 2005 looked into the possible impeachment of then-Treasurer Robert Vigil. (Vigil resigned shortly before the panel started considering specific charges.)
"Former State Representative Eric Youngberg was widely known for his great sense of humor, but he will be remembered most for his years of service to the people of New Mexico in the state Legislature," Gov. Bill Richardson said in a news release.
During his time in the Legislature, Youngberg referred to his Capitol office as "The Bat Cave." He always kept it well-stocked with energy drinks.
Following his death, House members shared testimonies about Youngberg, recalling his humor and the friendships he made on both sides of the aisle. Rep. Candy Spence-Ezzell, R-Roswell, told about the time he visited her ranch and tried to pet one of her bulls. Without saying exactly what happened, Spence-Ezzell said Youngberg learned quickly some bulls aren't interested in being petted.
Rep. Rhonda King, D-Stanley, remembered when Youngberg showed up at the annual House/Senate basketball game "a little unprepared." Specifically, he was wearing a business suit and dress shoes. However, King said Youngberg found a pair of scissors and turned his dress pants into shorts and played the game that way. State Rep. Al Park recalled going to a paintball game with Youngberg and that neither of them knew what they were getting into or how intense the game is. After hiding for a long time, Park said, Youngberg finally decided to check if the coast was clear. He immediately was shot with paintballs three times, Park said.
State Republican Chairman Harvey Yates Jr. issued a statement saying, "Eric was a well-respected former legislator who fought hard in Santa Fe to better the lives of his constituents. Motivated by a conviction that every eligible vote should count, Eric served as a key member of the Republican Party's election-day efforts statewide. His even temperament and quick sense of humor masked a keen mind and strong sense of justice. He was a true servant of the people and will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time."
Trained as a certified public accountant, Youngberg worked for Price Waterhouse in Los Angeles and New York before returning to New Mexico. Even after earning his J.D. in 1996, he earned his living as a real estate developer and accountant. In 2008, he was defeated for re-election in 2008 by Rep. Ben Rodefer.