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Fundraiser collects $100,000 for Domenici Institute

New Mexico State University Interim President Waded Cruzado accepted a donation of $100,000 at a reception and dinner honoring retired U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and his contributions to Lea and Eddy counties. The money raised is for the Domenici Legacy Project at New Mexico State University.

NMSU President Waded Cruzado and to her left is Bob Forrest of Carlsbad, N.M. to her immediate right is Peyton Yates of Artesia, N.M. and the far right is Jim Maddox of Hobbs, N.M. All three men were co-chairs of the event planning committee. Retired Sen. Pete Domenici speaking at fundraising event.

The sellout crowd of more than 300 people packed the Pecos River Village Conference Center in Carlsbad, N.M. in Dec. 2008 to thank the senator for his contributions to the communities in Lea and Eddy counties. The net proceeds from the $250-a-plate event went to the Domenici Legacy Project -- a multifaceted effort to honor the senator's impact on public policy and his contributions to the state of New Mexico and the country during his historic tenure in the U.S. Senate.

"This was really a spectacular event that gave the citizens of southeast New Mexico a chance to thank Senator Domenici for his many contributions to this region," said Lisa Hardison, senior vice president of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County. "Over Domenici's 36-year career as senator, he brought much-needed federal money to the region that improved the quality of life here and helped to create jobs."

Domenici is credited for helping to bring more funding to the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, he was a longtime supporter of the Brantley Dam project, he worked to bring the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to the area and he was a key influence in the decision to build a $1.5 billion uranium enrichment plant in Lea County.

The $100,000 given to the New Mexico State University Foundation will support elements of the Domenici Legacy Project, which include digitizing, preserving and processing the Sen. Pete V. Domenici Archives; constructing the Pete V. Domenici Building; and hosting the Domenici Public Policy Conference.