Gov. Bill Richardson has many advisors. On Monday he added Portales High School’s Joderick Rodriquez to the list.
Richardson swore in Rodriquez and 56 other high school students to the New Mexico Youth Alliance, also known as the Children’s Cabinet, on Monday afternoon in Albuquerque. The group will serve as an advisory committee for the governor on the youth-related issues.
The PHS sophomore football player applied with the help of his sponsor Sue Bracksieck of GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Program) and went through a phone interview in February with Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
“It’s a great honor to be sworn in,” Rodriquez said Monday night. “I’m happy to serve on the youth alliance and to be a voice of our area.”
Rodriquez was the only student selected in an 80-mile radius; three students were picked from Roswell.
“It’s quite an honor especially coming from this district,” Portales Principal Melvin Nusser said. “The district extends from Lovington to Santa Rosa. He’s a fine young man. He’s well-deserving of the honor.”
Rodriquez’s parents, Sarah and Ben Rodriquez, said they are extremely proud of their son and his involvement in many activities.
Joderick is also on the quality leadership committee for Portales High School. The committee consists of one student representative from each class.
“The quality leadership students come up with a lot of ideas,” Nusser said. “He was instrumental in getting the student of the month going, again.”
Richardson and Denish also selected 17 teens from Albuquerque on the one-year anniversary of the Children’s Cabinet.
“As governor, I realized right away that the departments within the state government often didn’t talk to one another,” Richardson said in a press release. “The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.”
The Youth Alliance consists of students between the ages of 14 and 19.
“It was all very nice,” Bracksieck said about the swearing in of the Youth Alliance. “They spoke about the vision and mission of the 57 students. It was a wonderful pledge. Joderick is going to be working very hard.”
The Youth Alliance was created by the 2003 Legislature in an attempt to gather young people from across the state to present issues facing the youth of New Mexico before the state government. Bracksieck said Joderick will be meeting with other Youth Alliance members three times a year in Albuquerque for two years, and will attend 10 regional meetings, also.
“When we worked to pass the Youth Alliance last legislative session we had a vision of creating a two-way street with our youth,” Lt. Governor Denish said in a press release on Monday. “First, we wanted to learn from them. We want to know their experiences, their struggles and how state government could help.”