DENVER (CBS4) – Flags across Colorado are being lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, the day of the memorial service for former Colorado Speaker of the House Ruben Valdez. Born in Trinidad, Valdez was Colorado’s first Hispanic House Speaker and a fixture at the Colorado State Capitol for nearly five decades.

Ruben Valdez

Ruben Valdez (credit: Denver Foundation)

Valdez died Oct. 1 at the age of 82.

He rose to the speakership in 1975 in the wake of Watergate as a Democratic tide swept the country. He was known for his advocacy for schools and teachers.

The Ruben Valdez Achievement Campus in southwest Denver is named in his honor. It’s in a mainly Latino neighborhood where Valdez lived and served constituents for decades.

Gov. Jared Polis will be among many others who will attend the memorial service at Coors Field Wednesday morning.

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