Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monday News — 2016 Texas Boys State

By Dom Borbon
June 14, 2016

After the initial sparks of Sunday’s exciting introductions, Texas Boys State is now in full force.

The second day of the program saw an engaging schedule of campaigns, elections, party politics, sports, and much more. To start off the day, Statesmen strengthened bonds between their fellow city Statesmen as they gathered for a hearty breakfast together. No time was wasted as the Statesmen went straight to business, first breaking into their city precincts and hearing speeches from House and Senate candidates within their own party. Still gathered in their precinct conventions, Statesmen voted on the positions for precinct chair, county delegates, rules platform and campaign committee.

All before 10 a.m., Statesmen received their first taste of the election process, something that will be a common factor through the remainder of this week.

Directly afterwards, Statesmen moved with their precincts to the county convention where delegates voted for their county chair and state delegates. Many counties saw fierce competition between state delegate candidates as Statesmen vied for only six delegate positions that would later represent the county during the state party convention.

Following the elections of county officials, all Statesmen gathered collectively with their whole party in the state party convention. This first contact with the party convention was crucial as Statesmen joined in song, chant, and excitement, building connections with each other and establishing a sense of pride in their parties.

After an engaging half hour, statesmen made their way to eat lunch, which would serve as a much needed respite before another long series of elections. Before leaving to return to the state party convention, Statesmen first voted at the special election polls for House of Representatives and Senate.

Upon returning from lunch and special election polls, the state party conventions recommenced to pass new rules, elect a state party chair, party secretary, and whips. The conventions saw disagreements between delegates, fierce campaigning, and—at times—almost complete disarray in the convention center.

At the same time, however, the state party conventions proved to be rewarding for all the Statesmen present as the delegates learned to settle disputes in a civil manner. Candidates were gifted with humility and respect, and above all, Statesmen built a strong sense of camaraderie as they had fun and learned together.

Immediately following the three-hour long state party conventions, statesmen changed into their recreational clothes and made their way to dinner. By the end of dinner, the special election polls officially closed, and all Statesmen walked from Kinsolving Dormitory to the LBJ Presidential Library where the general assembly would take place.

There, Statesmen were honored with a keynote speech from James Olsen, a retired CIA agent and a current professor at Texas A&M University, who emphasized the importance of upholding diligence and dedication to one’s country.

Inspired and lifted by these words, Statesmen proceeded to Clark Field in high spirits where they began city face-offs, which initiates recreational time, a period when Statesmen participate in friendly rivalries in the City Olympiad. Simultaneously, other statesmen had the chance to participate in seminars, meetings, orientations, or band practice.

After two hours of recreational time, all Statesmen met once again for the lowering of the flags and evening announcements. Finally, after a busy day of politics and competition, Statesmen retired to their dorms to rest up and prepare for yet another day at Texas Boys State.