CARLA ARAGÓN'S BLOG

Uplifting the Spirit using my voice & talent.

TAKE 5 with CARLA ARAGÓN featuring ELOISA L. BLOCK

Most things change, but when the Legislature convenes on January 19, 2010, you’ll see a fixture who’s been around longer than the Roundhouse itself.

Sitting in the middle of the action is a stunning woman with porcelain skin and silvery white hair who is the longest tenured employee of the House of Representatives. Eloisa L. Block has worked in the House for 52 legislative sessions. That’s amazing… considering New Mexico has been a state for 98 years! In fact, 78-year-old Eloisa is a walking history book, filled with stories on how laws were made (or killed) and the politicians who put (or tried to put) them in the books.

Eloisa, who is the Assistant House Chief Clerk, has worked for a list of “Who’s Who” in New Mexico politics. She’s served the most Speakers of the House, including Donald Hallam, Mack Easley, Jack Campbell, Bruce King, David Norvell, Walter Martinez, C.G. Samberson, Raymond Sanchez, and Ben Lujan. She served under three House Chief Clerks, including Floyd Cross, Al Romero, and Steve Arias. When Eloisa worked in the Old Capitol (now the Bataan Memorial Building), Steve Arias ( her current boss) worked in the cloak room. She saw other young children who served as pages grow up to hold public office, including Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Rep. Ken Martinez, and Rep. Rhonda King.

You could say politics runs in her blood. Eloisa’s father, Tomás Luna, was a Guadalupe County Commissioner and her late husband, Johnny Block, Jr. was a former Mayor of Española and a Corporation Commissioner. But she is first and foremost devoted to her faith and her family. She is a fixture at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament where she spends an hour daily in perpetual adoration and prayer. That’s followed by daily mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Eloisa is often called upon to lead the Holy Rosary for deceased members of the community. Eloisa says prayer is her ministry and she constantly asks for discernment and humility.

Eloisa has never opened up her home to a political function, but loves to entertain her family with delicious cooking, flower arrangements, and decorating. She is mother to Sophie Bertrand, Jovanna Whitehead, John Block III, Angela Lobato, and Clarissa Block; and Johnny’s sons, Joseph, Jerome, Jackie, and Jeff Block. She has 20 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

1. Carla: You first started in the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1955. How did you get the job?

Eloisa: “One day my Johnny (Block) and Johnny Vigil were talking and Johnny mentioned to me casually that if I was interested in working for the legislature. It was Johnny Vigil that encouraged me to get a job. He himself took me to the Chief Clerk. I was given a shorthand and typing test and I was hired and I became secretary to Don Hallam. He was the first Speaker that I worked for. I missed out on a 60-day session when I worked for Governor Bruce King (as Executive Assistant). And then I missed out on a 30-day session when I worked with former Secretary of State Betty Fiorna as Director of the Bureau of Elections. Outside of that, I have returned to the Legislature for every session.”

2. (Eloisa says she enjoyed working in the Old Capitol where there was a much more relaxed atmosphere than at the Roundhouse) Carla: How was it different?

Eloisa: “In the old capitol, as I remember, we had a night session in which we had a secretary from Hobbs, who was spiking the drinks without anyone’s knowledge and sending them to the members on the House floor. Everybody was tired. It was late at night. Basheer Hindi had a bill he had introduced and it was related to Arabian Horses. That night they amended his bill to Arabian camels. It went to the senate. And the senate for a while refused to send it back to the house to get it amended. So, it was that kind of thing ….there was room for humor. But needless to say, the secretary was fired. Carla: And now? Eloisa: When things are getting really serious and tough, and party lines cross as they often do… Rep. Ken Martinez is really good at lightening things with his funny jokes.”

3. Legislators tackle some very serious, sometimes controversial issues. What is it like to watch some of the heated debates that take place on the floor of the House?

Eloisa: “You sit there and you don’t take part in it, but you try to understand where everyone is coming from. You don’t criticize anyone, this is their job. They’re here to please their constituents, to represent them. With that in mind, you have a lot of respect for them. The people from the east, or the west, or the north and the south–they have different types of constituencies and you have to understand that. In coming to understand what the positions are– you learn to respect everyone regardless of their views.”

4. Carla: There are many people who are soured on the political process and the lawmakers in particular. Are we in bad shape?

Eloisa: “A lot of people have never attended legislative sessions. A lot of people don’t know what the legislature is all about and therefore they have an idea that (legislators) they’re here to party. They don’t understand how hard they work, the long hours they put in, there’s times that the members have sleepless nights. They are hard workers, they take their work very seriously, they fight for what they believe is the right thing to do. I just wish that more people would get involved and really take more of an active part and educate themselves as to what really takes place during a legislative session. These members work really hard.”

5. (Eloisa says she got her strong faith from her Mother, Ricarda Luna, and was called to do more fervent prayer after a trip to Medjugorje.) Carla: What do you do during your daily visits to the Perpetual Adoration Chapel? What do you pray for?

Eloisa: “The time just flies. I go there–sometimes I pray, sometimes I meditate, Sometimes I just tell the Lord ‘I’m just a beggar, I’m always asking for something…just to speak to me.’ There’s just so much to pray for—families, priests, religious, conversions, for little children who are abused, for our military and government leaders. So the need is out there for prayer. And particularly with families, there’s such a need for prayer, so it’s a constant prayer and it’s a way of life for me. I just want to be His faithful servant filled with humility, compassion, charity, and love.”

Advertisements

January 1, 2010 - Posted by | Eloisa L. Block, Santa Fe Hometown News |

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: