Ben Blumenthal, Nobel Rai, and Nathan Franz
Boys State is a truly unique experience where one week can change a lifetime. While hundreds of go-getters are admitted each year, some Cornhusker Boys State alumni have proven themselves to be especially remarkable, including Riley Knust, Alec Wiese, and Ben Sasse.
Riley Knust, was the 2017 Cornhusker Boys’ State governor. Going into the elections Riley already had prior campaigning experience, was part of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at his school, and knew tons of people going into the week, all of which he feels gave him a leg up. However it wasn’t all easy sailing for him, Riley experienced some struggles on his path to governor. During some question and answer sessions, Riley says he had a lot of dumb answers and a lot of “I don’t knows”. However he was able to learn from these failures and was able to run a successful campaign for governor. At the end of the day Riley said he just tried to be himself, and tried to be as genuine as possible. Riley is now considering a career in politics, has a newfound respect for public officials, and made some long lasting friends, all because of his week at Cornhusker Boys’ State.
Alec Wiese attended Boys State in 2010. While there, he ran for the office of Lieutenant Governor. While he didn’t get the role, he still got involved and was able to learn many lessons from his experience. During Boys State, Wiese got out of his shell and learned the importance of risk-taking. He made many friends at Boys State and to this day, maintains relationships with some of the people he met. One piece of advice he would give to high school students our age is that you have to be able to find a good balance in life, and that you have to learn how to keep that balance in order to make it through high school and college. Today, Alec has started his own company and says the idea for his company was born out of speculation as to what kind of meat was in the twenty-five cent tacos he was enjoying with a friend. The friend said it was probably bug meat, and that’s what led to the idea to put insect protein into the foods we eat. Alec’s goal for Bugeater Foods is to help feed the world’s growing population with a sustainable source of food and expects the company to start reaching into developing countries that are in need of a better food source.
One of the most well-known Cornhusker Boys’ State alumni is the current junior Senator for Nebraska, Ben Sasse. Sasse was governor of Boys’ State in 1989, and he learned here that it is important to be able to learn from the wisdom of qualified adults and apply that knowledge to our daily lives. Like Alec Wiese, one of the Senator’s favorite parts of the program was making lifelong friends, some of which he still keeps up with to this day. He attended Boys’ Nation afterward, and there he met many high achievers that drove him to better himself. The lives of all three of these men have been shaped positively by the experience Boys’ State has provided them. It is truly “ a week to shape a lifetime”.
By: Logan Becher
Citizens of Cornhusker Boys’ State tried their hand at presenting actual court cases being debated on in the Supreme Court during a session on Thursday. In this session, Staters were split into groups to decide which case they would be presenting and who they were to represent. Once these groups were determined, the towns were also split by County, each presenting the same cases to different judges. The cases selected were Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, Carpenter v. United States, Collins v. Virginia, and Byrd v. United States.
To begin the session, representatives for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado presented their cases. This case came to court after the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to bake a personalized cake for a same-sex couple. For Costello County, the judges determined Masterpiece Cakeshop the winner of the case 3-0. Rohan County judges determined Masterpiece Cakeshop the winner by a vote of 2-0.
In the case of Carpenter v. United States, police had reason to believe that Carpenter was involved in criminal action. Police authorities pulled information from his cell provider and then used the information to track his phone location for 127 days, resulting in his arrest. Costello County voted United States the winner 3-0, and Rohan County found United States as the winner with a vote of 2-0.
Collins v. Virginia was a case that came to the Supreme Court when a police officers found a motorcycle violating traffic laws on two occasions. Later finding a similar looking vehicle, a police officer arrested the driver without a warrant, violating the 4th Amendment. Costello County found Collins the winner by a vote of 2-1. Rohan County could not decide a winner, having a vote of 1-1.
The final case of Byrd v. United States was brought to the Supreme Court when Byrd was pulled over, while using a rental car under another name, for violating traffic laws. When stopped, police asked to search the car and found heroin and body armor. Costello County judges decided the United States won this case 3-0. Rohan County decided that Byrd won the case 2-0.
By: Logan Thomas
Everyone knows that there has been an extremely intense race for the chance to become the 2018 Boys’ State governor. This race picked up significantly on Thursday when all of the candidates for each party gathered and tried to win the vote of their fellow party members. Each candidate was given the opportunity to deliver an opening statement for one minute. Following this, the candidates moved from town to town for a three minute Q and A session. After this, the candidates were allowed to ask one other candidate a question on stage. The party meetings were ended with a short closing statement from each candidate. Following a short joint session with Girls’ State, each of the towns raced back to Harper Hall in order to cast their ballots in the hopes of being the home of the future Boys’ State governor.
By: Ryan Wall
Today at the track meet, Co-Chief Counselor Scott Day was interviewed about his experience at Boys’ State over his 26 years at the program, both as an attendee and counselor.
The first experience he had at Boys’ State was when he attended in 1992. Originally from Wayne, his counselor Mr. Munson recommended that he apply, setting into motion a lifetime of dedication to the program. Sponsored by Mr. Irwin L. Sears from Legion Post 43, Mr. Day had a fantastic time at Boys’ State and was selected to attend Boys’ Nation where he met President George H. W. Bush.
After his experience, he returned the following year as a Junior Counselor and continued to return in various positions for the last 25 years. Over that time, he has seen technology advance and affect Boys’ State, while keeping the core focus on government and citizenship consistent. In 2006, Mr. Day was part of the team that set up the first Boys’ State website. When asked about the changing technology, he replied that he heartily endorses the tremendous ability they have to keep Staters in contact with the people they meet years down the road.
Mr. Day concluded by explaining that the magic of Boys’ State is hard to put into words. The essence of this week is that we have an opportunity to live as the better versions of ourselves. One thing that may be a novel experience for some attendees is failing and to be a “big fish from a small pond thrown into the ocean.” We have significant, tangible opportunities, not only for elected positions but to return and be a part of the program in the future. He wants to leave Boys’ Staters with the sentiment that nobody is alone here. He said, “Everyone has the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
By: Michael Steele
Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley started his career in Nebraskan Politics running for Senator. Eighteen years later, he is now our state’s Lt. Governor. During the 2018 Boys’ and Girls’ State Lt. Governor Foley came to discuss some of the more pressing issues in today’s government. He opened with discussing some of the recent accomplishments of the Nebraskan Unicameral, some of which were international trade talks for Nebraska agriculture products such as beef and works on a successful budget.
One of the noteworthy facts about this new budget is how comparable it is to those drafted by Boys’ Staters. All week the main solution given out by campers was to lower and raise different taxes, but what Lt. Governor Foley told the attentive listeners was the cutting of funds instead of raising taxes.
During questions, campers asked many of the issues discussed throughout the week. When the topic of Property Tax got brought up the Lt. Governor made it clear how those in Western and Central Nebraska, especially those affiliated with the agriculture business, need relief by having it lowered. The only thing in the way is the bickering within legislation in which a handful of senators can’t agree on one solution. He stressed how detrimental this is to the agriculture business in Rural Nebraska and Nebraska as a whole who rely on agriculture.
The hope is that those of you who are reading will be able to find the answer to this problem for Nebraska and can accomplish what politicians of today can’t.