Every year, students from all over the state of North Dakota gather at Boys State to take part in a mock political process. There, students run for different mock political positions and learn about government and the political process.
By Frank Turner
At the conclusion of every Boys State, the American Legion selects and sponsors only two boys from every state in the nation to travel to Washington D.C. and participate as mock senators in Boys Nation.
This year, local Bowman High School Senior Mitch Stuber was chosen to be one of two individuals representing North Dakota on a national stage. Bottineau High Schooler Nikoli Schoenborn and two qualifying girls from Girls State also joined Stuber in the trip to D.C.
Stuber said, “Throughout the Boys State week, they observe us in the working environment and watch how we showcase our leadership skills.”
Stuber continued saying that he was likely nominated for Boys Nation because of his success at Boys State. At Boys State, Stuber attributed his success to both his leadership skills and his ability to meet new people.
The Bowman student quickly acclimated to the event. Stuber went from not knowing anyone to suddenly running a political rally for the highly sought-after position of mock Governor. He ran on the ideals of small government and the importance of the free market.
“I was the only one who participated in Boys State from our area,” he said. “By the end of it, I was one of the two finalists for Governor, which means I got to participate in throwing a political rally and participating in an hour long debate against my opponent,”
Although Stuber did not win the Governor’s race at Boys State, his party still elected him Senate Majority Leader.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
After successfully serving as the Senate Majority Leader and running for Governor at Boys State, Stuber left for the nation’s capital in mid July for eight days.
There, Stuber joined the other 98 student senators from every state in the nation to learn about the federal government first hand.
“We had a lot of opportunities in D.C.,” he said. “The student senators got to meet real U.S. senators, if they were available.”
The four North Dakota senators met with a lot of big wigs on capital hill. Stuber and the other North Dakota student senators met with Cramer’s legislative team and Vice President Mike Pence.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” said Stuber. “Being immersed with the other 99 brightest, young political minds in the country really put things into perspective. I had to really be on my toes all week with my critical thinking skills.”
Even though Stuber said that the visiting D.C. was the opportunity of a lifetime, he does not intend to pursue a political career.
“It definently interests me, but I don’t think that’s the route I want to go. I’m really interested in communications. I think either being an advocate for agriculture or being a talk radio guy would be a lot of fun.”
Moving forward, Stuber plans to run for the state FFA office and attend NDSU for communications.
Regardless of the plan, Stuber said that the Boys Nation experience will always stick with him.
“They call it the week that shapes a life time,” he said. “As a country boy from southwest North Dakota, I never really expected an opportunity like this to pop up. It something I will always carry with me in my future endeavors.”