Secretary of State speaks to group at ENMU

By Thomas Garcia: PNT staff writer

New Mexico’s acting governor for the day told a group of high school students assembled at Eastern New Mexico University to get involved in government.

Secretary of State Mary Herrera, who was acting governor in the absence of the governor and lieutenant governor, encouraged and thanked the attending members of the week-long 61st annual Boys State at ENMU.

“It is an honor to be here in the presence of such an intelligent group of young men,” Herrera said. “I am extremely proud of your focus on learning and operating the levels of government that exist in your state.”

Herrera explained the importance of each level of the New Mexico state government, the importance of a good education and how critical voting can be.

“Only 28 percent of the state turned out for this past election and that is sad,” Herrera said. “It is vital that you exercise the right to vote when you are able to use that privilege.”

Herrera also urged them to do more than simply vote.

“We need good, honest people of integrity in government,” Herrera said. “You young men serve as great role models for those that will follow you.”

About 118 members, from all over the state, attended Boys State with the goal of learning how the levels of government work and actually implementing those processes, said Boys State Executive Director Ralph Kemp.

“These young men take time out of their own summer to be here,” Kemp said. “They learn about their government and how it works and actually have to run for office, form councils and create laws.”

Kemp said what the youth learn will greatly influence them and give them a glimpse at how our government is actually run.

“This gathering has helped me to understand democracy,” said Aaron Kunz of Albuquerque.

The 2008 Girls State Governor, Aarti K. Attreya of Clovis also addressed the members of the Boys State relating to them about the privilege they share being a part of the Boys and Girls State.

“The future is in our hands,” Attreya said. “With the training and experience we gain as part of Girls and Boys State, I know that will not be a problem.”