Magnificent Monday was exactly that! The city of Cheyenne was named City of the Day and awarded the Spirit Stick. The winning city adds something to the stick and then it is passed on the following day. Governor Grace also announced and recognized the city mayors and managers.
We welcomed a Legislative Career Panel to talk to the girls about their duties and roles within the Kansas Legislative Branch.
Representative Debbie Deere from Lansing serving district #40 just finished her first term as a legislator. When asked about her experience as a woman she replied that she believes her gender gives her a different perspective; "not better or worse, just different." Deere showed appreciation for her colleagues' support as a freshman legislator and stated "members from both sides of the aisle stepped up to help me out."
From Concordia and serving district #36, Senator Elaine Bowers comes to us with 12 years of legislative experience . She communicated how important she believes it is for women to make connections and support each other. Being a Sunflower Girls' State Alumni she is an advocate for taking advantage of and saying "yes" to opportunities afforded to you. She expressed that her time at SGS had a great impact on her career and we're glad that she has been willing to give her time to us over the years.
The panel also included Catherine Gunsalus Chief of Staff to the Office of the Speaker Pro Tem of the Kansas House of Representatives. She discussed the experiences she had leading up to where she is now and the importance of taking risks. Catherine's day to day includes analyzing policy and problems and how those align with the values of her boss and his constituents. It was a great opportunity for the delegates to learn about other ways of being involved in the political conversation.
Michael Gillespie, a lobbyist with ONEOK spends his days meeting with legislators and advocating for one of the largest energy providers in the nation. Gillespie has served on the panel for many years and continues to bring a positive perspective about lobbying and educating legislators. He reminded the girls about the importance of finding your passion and making it work for you. Another of his points that Elizabeth Schwerdtfeger from Apache enjoyed was "his reminder that we need to support our arguments with facts."
Sarah Brown, former Oklahoma Girls Stater and SGS staff member joined us to talk about workplace etiquette. Mrs. Brown is a practicing attorney and certified life coach from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She discussed appropriate dress, use of social media, interview tips, and some entertaining #interviewfails. Sarah is a long time friend of many staff members and an advocate for Girls State, The American Legion Auxiliary, and women's empowerment.
The afternoon was filled with petition filing as girls scrambled to acquire enough signatures to be eligible to run for office! Candidates are required to have a certain number of signatures in order to file their petition to be placed on the ballot. County offices require 6 signatures and state offices require 20. Any delegates that cannot get the required signatures cannot file their petition to run for office.
Assistant Director Lindsay Maudlin gave a presentation about the history of the whistle stop. A whistle stop is a style of political campaign where a politician makes a series of brief appearances or speeches at a number of small towns over a short period of time. Originally, whistle stop appearances were made from the open platform of an observation car or a private rail car. Trains arriving would signal their approach with a blast of the whistle, hence the name. Later in the week our state office candidates will participate in our form of a whistle stop.
Cities spent their evening making decisions about their local government. This includes writing and passing ordinances, establishing a city budget, and discussing ways to improve their city. The counties spend a majority of the week working together to solve a local government problem.