There are not a lot of elementary school-age students who can say they were the driving catalyst behind creating a new law. But Braden McIntosh certainly can.
“My homework for TeenPact New Mexico was to write a bill, serious or fun, that I would be willing to discuss at the event,” McIntosh, then a fifth-grade home-schooled student, told the Las Cruces Bulletin. “I had no clue I would have a chance to share my idea with our state leaders.”
That’s exactly what happened. First, two New Mexico Senate committees gave the green light to his bill, which would give the opportunity for anyone who makes a purchase from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to “round up” the purchase price or make a contribution that benefit youth hunting and outdoor programs.
Then he got the call to appear on the Senate floor as a witness. Braden showed up in a sports jacket and a tie and had the ear of the entire chamber. After he spoke, lawmakers voted unanimously 35-0 to advance the bill. The House of Representatives followed suit with a 61-0 vote. Then on April 5, 2023, he joined Governor Michelle Lujuan Grisham when she signed it into law.
“I love having fun with my family outdoors, and we mostly do all the fun activities. And it’s always just a joy. And most other kids don’t have this chance,” Braden told KRWG. “And I really wanted to share all the fun activities that I was doing with my family with everyone, and all the other children of New Mexico.”
And the beat goes on. Braden recently received a belt buckle from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. And he’s a new member, too.
“Who knows what his future holds?” Jaylene McIntosh, Braden’s mother, told KRWG. “He’s definitely interested in this process, and I think it’s really inspiring for me to see this generation get involved and see that they can make a difference for the future.”
(Photo credit: Senator Crystal Diamond)