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Hi all! My name is Aurelia Vargas and I’m a senior at Moriarty High School. This is my third and final year in Youth and Government, and I’m really looking forward to serving as your governor! Outside of YAG, I spend my time making art, embroidering, and exploring our state’s history. I cannot wait to meet and work with as many people as possible at this year’s conference!




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Lieutenant Governor

Howdy! My name is Mags Axelrod and I am very excited to serve as your Lieutenant Governor this year! This is my second and final year in the program, so I’m looking forward to spending it hearing all of your bills. I plan on making sure everyone feels comfortable and heard within the senate. Outside of YAG, I work at a local wildlife rescue and compete in the National History Day competition. I also really enjoy crossword puzzles and have two pet millipedes (their names are Cowboy Hank and Bill). I’m super stoked to see you all at conference! Feel free to email me if you have any questions (or fun insect facts).





Speaker of the House

Hello! I am Paloma Poole, your 2023 NMYAG Speaker of the House. I’m a sophomore at East Mountain High School and this is my second year participating in Youth and Government. Outside of YAG I’m a part of NHS, SAGA, MESA and EMHS’s volleyball team. In my free time I enjoy reading and writing poetry, cooking, hiking, playing guitar and pondering the meaning of life. One of my most important traits is that I am an avid feminist and activist. I love the YAG program for the many opportunities it presents the youth of New Mexico to share wonderful ideas and practice activism through collaboration and friendly discourse. As Speaker of the House, I hope to create a space where delegates participate in meaningful discussion and amiable debate. All the while, I’d like to ensure the legislative branch is a fun and enjoyable experience for all of YAG’s participants. I am honored and absolutely thrilled to serve as your 2023 Speaker. I cannot wait to see everyone at this year’s State Conference! 


Please feel free to reach out to me anytime!





Chief Justice

Hello! My name is Akansha Nanda and I am excited to serve as your Youth Chief Justice for NM Youth and Government 2023! I am a junior at the Albuquerque Institute of Mathematics and Science in Albuquerque. This is my second year with the program, and I hope to expand the Judicial Branch to considerably more participants, and make sure everyone is well-informed about the branch. Last year, I was on the Attorney General's Cabinet as well as participated in the Judicial Branch. In addition to Youth and Government, I am involved with Model United Nations, National Honor Society, the New Mexico Youth Unity Project, Neurodiversity Horizons, The Great Toy Drive, and more. In my free time, I volunteer, play the flute, take photographs, and love to read! I look forward to meeting everyone, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the Judicial Branch or conference overall. See you soon!





Secretary of State

Hello! My name is Verity Gray and I am serving as your 2023 Secretary of State. In this position, I hope to encourage many of you to run for YAG officer positions and to ensure that elections are as fair and seamless as possible. This is my third year in the program and I can tell you definitively that it has changed my life through its encouragement of leadership, discussion and debate, youth advocacy, and many more.


Outside of YAG, I am a junior at East Mountain High School and am involved in a wide variety of clubs and activities. I am currently involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, Civil Air Patrol, Cross Country, the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program, and my church. I also have two small businesses teaching violin lessons and cleaning homes in my community. 


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about running for office or the program in general! I look forward to meeting you all soon!





Attorney General

Hello everyone, my name is Aengus McGuinness. I am a senior at Santa Fe High School and this year’s Attorney General. This year I hope to help all legislators with constitutionality and to have lively debate around the New Mexico state constitution. This is my fourth year in Youth and Government, more specifically two years in the legislative branch and one as AG, and I hope to bring my experience to help demystify what is constitutional from a bill writing perspective. Outside of Youth and Government I love gardening and studying computer science. I am also a fellow in the Santa Fe Council for International Relations. This will be my second year of conference in person and I can’t wait to make it spectacular. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns!





State Auditor

Hi! My name is Pauline Mae Sanchez. I’m a senior at Moriarty High School and this is my second year in Youth and Government. I love to  read, sleep, and play guitar. I am the State Treasurer in the National Honor Society at Moriarty High School. I also participated in the National Judicial Competition this year. As your State Auditor, I am so excited to meet and see you all at conference.





State Treasurer

Hello everyone! My name is Pearl Nguyen, I am currently a sophomore at the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science. This is my second year of YAG and I’m thrilled to serve as your State Treasurer as well as looking forward to helping out at conference. I hope to expand task force this year and make it as inclusive as possible while providing all the support that I can! 


Outside of YAG, I am co-president of my non-profit organization, The Great Toy Drive, and participate in Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Embold International, and Neurodiversity Horizons. In addition, I also volunteer at Casa Esperanza in my free time, run rental properties, play piano, and enjoy reading. I look forward to meeting everyone at conference and getting to help out with task force. Please reach out to me if you have any questions regarding task force or conference, I’ll try my best to assist you. See you soon! 





Land Commissioner 

My name is Angela and I am currently a junior at the Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science. This being my second year in YAG, I am excited to serve as your Land Commissioner, as well as to provide all the support I can during my time on the task force and at conference! I strive to do everything I can to make this a fantastic conference for you, whether you are new to the program or have been here before. I have previously participated in Judicial and served on the governor's cabinet as the Secretary of Education and Health & Human Services. 

Alongside YAG, I am deeply passionate about international politics and participate in Model UN. I have worked alongside groups directly affiliated with Harvard University and have taken classes at CNM and UNM to further explore the legal field. I am additionally serving as secretary with my school's National Honor Society, have worked with the New Mexico Youth Unity Project, and am currently in the process of establishing a nonprofit dedicated to serving marginalized communities through knitting. 

In my free time, I enjoy baking and have played the piano for 12 years. 





Media Director

Hi, I’m Lesley Merino and I am your 2023 Media Director! I am a senior at Moriarty High School and this will be my second and final year in Youth and Government. I am very excited to take on this new role! I attended the 2022 Conference on National Affairs and I strongly encourage everyone who is able to attend to do the same! Outside of YAG I am involved in National Honor Society, and I play basketball and softball. I can’t wait to see what this year’s conference has to offer and what everyone takes away from it!


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