JERRY APODACA was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1934. After earning a bachelor of science degree from the University of New Mexico, he opened his own insurance business. In 1965, Apodaca was elected to the New Mexico state legislature, where he served four terms, from 1966 to 1974. He was elected governor in 1974, the first Hispanic governor in the U.S. since 1918. One of the priorities of his administration was reorganizing state government. In 1975 Apodaca created a cabinet system of government, with twelve major departments. During his tenure he also consolidated agencies and abolished several boards and commissions. Apodaca was appointed to a national level position by President Jimmy Carter, who named him Chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness in 1978. After his term as governor, Apodaca became involved in publishing periodicals targeting Hispanic audiences. Apodaca served in the Marine reserves and was a founder of Vista Magazine, and the first publisher of Hispanic Magazine. He also served on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, 1985 to 1991.

Sources:

Governor Jerry Apodaca Papers, 1975-1978 (official papers)

Governors of the American States, Commonwealths, and Territories, National Governors Association, 1978.

Library of the University of New Mexico

For more information please contact the New Mexico State Archives at 505-476-7948 or archives@state.nm.us.