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And the Newest Don’t Mess with Texas Celebrities Are…

May 12, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas—Three young, energetic individuals have been selected to become the Don’t Mess with Texas® Summer ‘09 Interns. Andrew Haynes of Temple, Jennifer Villarreal of Monte Alto, and Garrett Mize of Austin were selected to represent the program this summer.

In American Idol fashion, individuals from across the state competed for the spots with self-made videos during February and March hoping to land a spot as a celebrity Intern. A panel of young adults and industry-professional judges selected Haynes and Villarreal. A remaining group of four hopefuls battled it out in an online voting contest, and after more than 15,000 votes, Texans chose Mize as the third Intern.

“People used to always say kids spend so many hours in front of a TV, but now it’s so many hours in front of YouTube, so I’m most looking forward to reintroducing the Don’t Mess with Texas campaign to my peers and young people through use of the Internet,” said Mize. “And I’m thrilled about visiting different cities across Texas. There’s nothing I love more than going to speak one-on-one with people.”

Up Next for the Interns

Austin will be the home base for the interns during June and July. But much of their time will be spent meeting people while traveling the state and spreading the litter prevention message to teens and twenty-something Texans.

The interns will lead “litter challenges” to help local communities get rid of trash and develop their own litter prevention events, which will be publicized through Facebook, Twitter, and their personal Webisodes and blogs at www.DontMessWithTexas.org/intern.

They will make appearances at concerts, sports venues and other special events distributing free litterbags, posing for group photos and talking to young people about not littering.

Reality Series

Andrew, Jennifer and Garrett will star in six Webisodes, which will go live in July at www.DontMessWithTexas.org/intern. The interns will film some episodes and a camera crew will also follow them around to document their travels and adventures – reality show style.

“Going across the state is going to be crazy, hectic and fast, but ultimately what matters is that we help more people learn how to respect our state and keep it clean and livable for future generations,” said Villarreal.

“Bringing the ideas, energy and talent of these new Interns will help us reach our state’s worst litterers, who are Texans ages 16 to 24,” said Doris Howdeshell, TxDOT Travel Information Division Director. “We’re so excited to have these new Interns help promote Don’t Mess with Texas. We also appreciate all of the Texans who auditioned. We know they’ll continue to promote litter prevention in other important ways.”

The winners’ original audition videos and photos can be found at www.DontMessWithTexas.org/intern.

About Don’t Mess with Texas

Don’t Mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. TxDOT’s litter prevention program includes Adopt-a-Highway and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful. Don’t Mess with Texas activities also include a spring “Trash-Off,” community outreach, a student litter prevention contest and a corporate partner program. For more information, visit www.DontMessWithTexas.org. TxDOT’s goals are to reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of transportation assets. For more information, visit www.txdot.gov.

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