Former Gov. Jerry Apodaca (1975-78) was in New York City to attend the Heisman Trophy awards in 1978. Before the festivities, he went jogging in Central Park, got lost and asked a policeman for help.
He told the policeman he was the governor of New Mexico, and the officers shot him a look like, sure, and I’m the president. Apodaca’s attire (shorts, jersey, sneakers) had something to do with the policeman’s disbelief.
Apodaca had no identification with him, but he did have his room key at the New York Athletic Club. After a call to the club, the officers drove him there.
The story made the national news and reminded people there was such a thing as a governor of New Mexico.
New Mexico Magazine has a long-running regular feature titled “One of Our 50 is Missing,” in which readers submit stories about snubs against New Mexico. In the typical story, the airline reservation person says you need a passport to book a flight to a United States destination, or a mail-order catalog order-taker says her company doesn’t ship internationally. The feature is still running in the magazine, but our last three governors have definitely put New Mexico on the map.
Three in a row with national presence and national ambitions: Gary Johnson, Bill Richardson, now Susana Martinez.