Former Rep. Rafael Gallegos dies; was dedicated to cause of veterans

Former state Rep. Rafael Gallagos, age 71, passed away late last month after battling kidney cancer.

Rafael Gallegos

The well-liked former lawmaker, a Democrat, was elected to the Colorado House in 1994 and served two terms. Previously he was on the Antonito town board and also served as mayor in 2003.

After college at the University of Southern Colorado, Gallegos headed the National Weather Service office in Pueblo. At the Legislature he frequently gave weather reports to fellow legislators who were heading home for the weekends.

His political career ended in 2008 when he failed to make the ballot after the House District 62 assembly, and then failed to garner enough support as a write-in candidate.

Gallegos was the chairman of the Fallen Heroes Memorial Commission established by the Colorado Legislature. In February 2010, he told the Commission that he had been diagnosed with cancer the previous August. After talking with his family, he continued his chairmanship because he wanted to make sure the memorial site and design were selected. Gallegos died the week that Commission member Rebecca Kim made this announcement on May 29 at the Veterans Memorial Day Tribute.

Tim Drago, founder and guardian of the Colorado Veterans Monument, called Gallegos’ dedication “truly inspiring.”