Posted November 14, 2016
NOTE: This article appeared in the October 2016 edition of the Plymouth High School newspaper, Hi-Lights. Look for a copy in the high school office.
By Julia Marshall
of the Hi-Lights staff
During June, senior Joe Chandler attended Badger Boys State at Ripon College. Along with more than 800 boys from around the state, he learned about and acted out city, county, and state governments. The boys ran for offices, campaigned, set budgets, and learned how our government works.
“While in Ripon, I spent a lot of my time running for offices, writing speeches, and talking to large groups of people. It was time-consuming during that week to say the least,” Joe said.
Two of the boys at Badger Boys State are chosen as “senators” to attend Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. During the selection process, each of the nine counties picked one candidate after interviews. Then, those nine boys were interviewed again and two were chosen to go to Washington, D.C., to represent Wisconsin in a Senate simulation made up of delegates from all 50 states, except for Hawaii. Joe was one of the two for Wisconsin.
From July 22-30, he was in Washington, D.C. While there, he spent time in the Senate simulation trying to pass a bill through legislation that he and his partner had already prepared. “We also elected our president, VP, pro temp [Senate pro tempore], and other senate positions,” Joe said.
In his free time, Joe visited each war memorial in Washington, D.C., laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington, Va., traveled to Fort Meyer, spent a day on Capitol Hill with Senate staffers, and had dinner with the American Legion National Commander along with many legionnaires at an American legion post in D.C.
While in Washington, Joe met several different government workers, as well as Dale Barnett, the national commander of the American Legion; Bob Turner, a former national commander; and many other legionnaires. He also met with the executive staffers of Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin.
“Also, as a result of the experience, I was personally invited to meet with Scott Walker last month and got to pick his brain for about 20 minutes since he is a former Boys Nation Senator,” Joe said.
Joe loved his time in Washington. He hopes it will help him with college admissions and scholarships. He plans on continuing to work with the American Legion through volunteer work.
Joe plans on going to college for something other than politics, but also wants to study political science so he could possibly run for public office in the future.
“I thought the experience was incredible. I feel much more worldly and would say I know a lot more about city, county, state, and federal government as a result,” Joe said.
The American Legion paid for all expenses, including airfare and food. The only money Joe needed to bring was for souvenirs.
“My favorite part of the trip was going to the Greenbelt, Maryland, American Legion Post 136. There we all had dinner with a veteran and listened to their stories. I sat with the American Legion National Chaplin, and it was a great experience,” Joe said.