Opening Conventions Offer Students Inspiration

Opening conventions kicked off the 61st Model Assembly with great people and great speeches. The excitement was tangible in lower legislature as officials were sworn into office. Youth Lt. Governor Alex Vijums gave his first speech of his term. He talked extensively of his platform, showing how well he and Youth Governor Carter Jones work together. He went on to talk of how the respect and friendships formed between delegates is of great importance. In an interview after the opening convention, Vijums was asked what legacy he is hoping to leave behind. He answered with one simple but powerful word: “Inspiration.”

Elise Farnham, Deputy Secretary of State, lightened up her Code of Conduct talk with a simple quote: “No throwing ragers in your room after hours.” James Farnsworth concluded the Opening Convention with a very important campaign to Youth in Government — YIGive. Farnsworth introduced the new program booths during evening activities to promote year long YIG participation, as well as a new “Meet the Candidates” session before Town Hall Debates tomorrow night.

Upper legislature was filled with eager delegates and great real-world examples of public servants. Steve Simon, Minnesota’s newly elected Secretary of State, offered advice to expectant delegates. First, to enjoy the event. Secretary of State Simon reminded his audience that even with the construction surrounding the Capitol, it is “one of the most beautiful buildings in Minnesota.” Second, he spoke of the learning that can be done this weekend from one another. He stressed that even with our many differences, we’re all here for the same reasons. To continue, Simon talked of another type of learning – the processes and rules that are the structure of the program. To conclude, our Secretary of State left us with two memorable quotes: “Today’s adversary may be tomorrows ally,” and something we should all keep in mind come Saturday, “I have to say this as the new Secretary of State: vote. Don’t forget to vote.”

Kurt Daudt, current Minnesota Speaker of the House, made a quick, unplanned stop in to offer his own advice. As the Speaker to reach his position the quickest (in four years) since the 1930s, Daudt said there are bad and good parts to that. “The bad part is I don’t have the institutional knowledge. The good part is that I don’t have the institutional knowledge.” Daudt’s was a quick speech, but it was a good one.

Carter Jones delivered an incredibly well delivered, well-versed speech giving us all a peek at the things to come from our Youth Governor. “We have challenged ourselves to do what the adults cannot. To put aside partisan politics while we understand, interpret, and solve the most pressing issues in our ever-evolving world.” Jones, while he himself aimed to be an inspiration to others, talked of those that inspired him. Dylan Slinger was the first person Jones referenced. “Governor Slinger is the one we have to thank for our current Governor. As he left the room to continue his rounds, he delivered one powerful phrase, ‘Nice job. Keep speaking like that and one day you’ll be the one standing in front of all those people.’  At the time, Dylan probably didn’t know it, but he was the overarching reason that I decided to run for Governor.” Slinger isn’t the only one who has influenced Jones. Sola Olateju, Sarah Schuler, Katzie Truszo, and Elise Redetzke have all impacted Jones, and this just serves to prove the impact those in this program have on one another. Jones moved on to talk extensively about his platform, explaining his goals and thoughts incredibly well.

With Opening Conventions coming to a close, delegates broke off to begin training, debating, and reporting as Model Assembly hit the ground running.