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Doña Ana County honors Apodaca legacy


On Tuesday, June 13, the Board of Commissioners of Doña Ana County will honor the memory, legacy, and impact of former Governor Jerry Apodaca. Recognized for being the first Hispanic governor in New Mexico's modern history and an advocate for government reform and education, Governor Apodaca leaves behind lasting achievements that continue to shape the State of New Mexico.

Governor Apodaca used his tenure to fight for education, with state budgets that made statewide kindergarten a fully funded reality and loaned support for bilingual, vocational, and special education. These improvements, as well as annual raises for teachers, free two-year community colleges, trade schools, and extended education beyond high school earned Governor Apodaca the title of the "Educational Governor".

Governor Apodaca was a fitness enthusiast and supporter of the youth. He often would speak to young people about their futures and offered encouragement to take charge of their own destiny. Taking charge is what he did regarding the issues about which he was passionate. Governor Apodaca’s efforts to healthcare reform and advocacy for patient’s rights is recognized fifty years later for being a catalyst for opening the door to the state’s current medical cannabis program.

Governor Apodaca began his political career while in his 20s, being elected to the New Mexico State Senate. In 1974, the 40-year-old was elected as governor of the State of New Mexico. During his term he cemented his legacy by bringing ethnic diversity to government, being intentional about appointing Latino, Native American, and Black men and women to key positions in public service. In 1975, he streamlined New Mexico government, converting almost 400 agencies and commissions into what still exists today as 12 cabinet-level departments.

Governor Apodaca is leaving behind a legacy of exceptional service and unwavering dedication to our state. His leadership has left an indelible mark, inspiring us all to strive for excellence and work towards a brighter future.

Governor Apodaca's son, Jeff Apodaca, will be in attendance to represent the family at the commission meeting. The public is invited to attend the meeting to pay tribute.