Aug. 7, 2006

Howard Lake boys learn politics at Boys State

By Lynda Jensen

This may be an election year, but two Howard Lake youths got a firsthand preview of the democratic process when they attended Boys State in June.

Clark Ostvig and Daniel Kubasch were elected as Minnesota attorney general and majority party leader for the House of Representatives respectively during a mock election conducted at the Boys State program.

Boys State is sponsored by the American Legion every year, during which two local boys are chosen by each Legion chapter to attend a week-long list of activities to better acquaint them with politics and government.

There is also a Girls State program where local Legion auxiliaries choose candidates to attend.

The boys stayed at dorms at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Kubasch said.

Kubasch started out being “elected” to city council, then county, and continued on to become a state delegate.

Both boys took part in opposite platforms. “Clark was a nationalist, and I was a federalist,” Kubasch said.

The political platforms do not correspond to any real political party, although the students are required to come up with their own agendas and platforms.

Ostvig enjoyed getting to know everyone and felt the program taught respect for the American flag and for country.

As majority party leader, Kubasch did most of the talking. He proposed bills, he said.

A student from Bemidji, Evan Parrott, was elected governor.

They managed to pass about six or seven bills, with some being shot down, Kubasch said. True to life, some ended up not being signed into law, either, but Kubasch noted that this was probably because the emphasis was on the learning process, and not the end result.

“There were a lot of good speakers,” Kubasch commented, saying it was a first-hand view of government.

More than 450 took part in the event, according to the American Legion.

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