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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Carroll Leavell of Jal is retiring after more than two decades in the New Mexico Legislature.

Leavell told the Hobbs News-Sun that he decided to step aside due to health reasons. He says he fought cancer for more than two years and while it's under control, the aftermath has been difficult.

First elected in 1996, Leavell sat on the influential Legislative Finance Committee that drafts the state budget. He represented a Republican-dominated district that spans Lea and Eddy counties in the southeastern corner of the state, where oil and natural gas development are concentrated.

His replacement can be chosen by the state governor from suggestions by county commissions within the Senate district.

Democrats currently hold a 26-seat majority in the 42 member Senate.

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Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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