March 31, 2016

Inspiring New Mexico's Future Leaders

My family has a long tradition of public service, and as United States Senator, one of my priorities is to encourage New Mexico students to develop their own passion for service. Our nation's capital is far away and difficult for many New Mexico students to visit, so each year, I work to bring opportunities for young people to learn about government and public policy closer to home.

In February, I was pleased to host the 27th Student Leadership Institute in Las Cruces. We welcomed over 100 high school juniors and seniors from across Southern New Mexico to New Mexico State University. They participated in seminars led by members of my legislative staff, and I got a chance to answer their questions. We challenged students to consider real-world policy scenarios as they conducted mock Senate negotiations, drafted their own federal budgets, and debated international relations.

The students impressed me with their insightful questions, genuine curiosity and creative suggestions for how to solve complex policy issues - touching on everything from national security to economic development. I hope the conference increased their awareness of some of the issues that impact our communities, and inspired more young New Mexicans to engage in our political process.

I am grateful to New Mexico State University for hosting, to the teachers and administrators who accompanied their students to the event, and to the parents who support their students' interest in government and passion for public service. My friend former Senator Jeff Bingaman started the annual Student Leadership conferences. I've been honored to continue the tradition, and I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Our students are the future leaders of our state and nation, and I'll continue to do everything I can to help ensure they have every opportunity to succeed.