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36th Rep. Elect Ruiz talks 'Inspiration' with local students

By Laura Yanez, News Reporter, Laura.Yanez@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Nov 20 2012 01:14:20 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 20 2012 12:39:00 AM CST
Dr. Raul Ruiz
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Xavier College Preparatory High School proudly inducted its first 64 students into the prestigious National Honor Society on Monday night.

The keynote speaker was Coachella Valley native and Representative-elect of the 36th Congressional District. The theme of the night: Inspiration.

"We know that an education is the pathway to the American success story and all things are possible through an education," said Ruiz as he congratulated the students.

A success story is one of his own.

"I can relate to the model this high school has, of always striving for excellence and giving back to your community with social responsibility," said Ruiz.

Camille Lethcoe, president of Xavier's Honor Society chapter, agrees.

"Knowing his story and knowing that coming to Xavier is a process itself, we are glad to have him as he demonstrates what it means to have character, leadership, service and what it means to be a role model," said Lethcoe.

The students welcomed Ruiz home after his first week of "intense" orientation on Capitol Hill.
     
"Orientation has been wonderful to meet others with very similar passions for their districts, to be a voice for the people they serve," said Ruiz.

The doctor calls his freshmen class a group of "down to Earth" newly-elected lawmakers and says he's fired up to get to work come January.

"I'm really looking forward to joining committees that are going to make the biggest difference for our district and country.

He says he wants to focus on health care, green renewable energy, veterans and Native American issues. Also, education so students like senior Lethcoe and her classmates can succeed.

Lethcoe says, "I hope to be an inspiration like Dr. Ruiz. I too am a future medical student."

Ruiz says it's back to orientation after Thanksgiving. Also noting that it's going to be a rough commute to and from Washington, but his commitment and priorities remain in the Coachella Valley.