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Boy's State Gives Aspiring Politicians Hands-On Experience

Over 360 high school students gathered in the Grove this morning to kick-off the Mississippi American Legion Boys State week. Students come from all over the state of Mississippi to get hands-on experience running a “mock state.”
“The Magnolia Boy’s State” is broken down into eight cities and four counties, all of which will be run by the students throughout the weeklong program. Students will be elected to positions in the mock government by their peers. Director of this year’s program, Cortez Moss talked about the opportunity that the students have to get true experience in the political realm. 
“It gives them a compressed, yet detailed picture of what our state and local government looks like. It exposes them to the inner-workings of it. It’s not a textbook; it’s a hands-on experience of running a government. The students carry out the functions from sheriff all the way to the governor. I think that practical experience is important for the future of out state. It’s important that we get kids engaged at an early age.” Moss said. 
While the students are there to learn about the state’s government, Moss hopes that the state government can learn from the participating students. 
“This program proves what can be possible in our government,” Moss said. “We see students from all over the state, from all backgrounds and cultures, come together and make decisions for the betterment of a mock state. The diplomacy that is evident in this program is far greater than what we see in state government, and if we can translate the diplomacy that we see here into our state government then our future is promising.”
Moss enjoys seeing students engage with the topics that the state of Mississippi is dealing with today. 
“There discussing real issues that are facing our state, hearing the nuances of those policies and being able to explore them, think crucially about them stand in support or opposition and defend why they’ve chosen their stance, that’s one of the most important parts of our program,” Moss said. 
In addition to the political insight, Boy’s State also offers students the chance to cover the decisions made by the mock government. Students can work with print and broadcast news networks to learn the ins and outs of political journalism. 
Events will carry on throughout the week, including speakers such as Senator Roger Wicker, who was a part of Boy’s State as a high school student. Other speakers include incoming Mayor of Oxford, Robyn Tannehill, U.S. Reps. Gregg Harper and Trent Kelly, Governor Phil Bryant, Attorney General Jim Hood, State Rep. Gray Tollison, of Oxford, and more. 
Today’s speaker was State Rep. Jay Hughes, who spoke about the state of politics today and how hearing both sides of an argument is immensely important. Hughes also discussed his reasoning behind running for public office. 

For more information about Boy’s State, click here.

Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com
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