Three members of the 2013-14 California High School Senior Class recently completed Missouri Girls State. The girls were immersed in learning the ins and outs of the life of a state legislator for a week. The group of approximately 850 young women from across the state participated in the event at the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, June 23-29, where they held political conventions, listened to speakers from various levels of local, county, and state government.
At Girls State, California High School senior Abby Lueckenotte was elected to city council, county central committee, and state central committee. Caitlin Meyer was elected as a county councilwoman and was a federalist delegate for governor. Emily Ziehmer was elected city councilwoman, city finance director, state representative, and House of Representatives majority floor leader.
As a state representative, Ziehmer wrote a bill against texting and driving and traveled to Jefferson City to have the bill heard and approved by her fellow representatives on the House floor.
For the first time in Missouri Girls State history, among the attendees were 21 young ladies from China who attend Beijing's Language and Culture Institute. Former Gov. Bob Holden orchestrated their visit to help build relationships between the Midwest and China.
Girls State is a government education program for outstanding teenage girls that introduces them to the structure and functions of the state government. These young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, organize into two political parties and conduct legislative sessions, campaigning, party rallies, debating and voting. The citizens also receive special instruction in parliamentary procedure.
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors Girls State and is the largest patriotic women's service organization in the world, with nearly 1 million members. The organization sponsors volunteer programs on the national and local levels, focusing on three major areas: veterans, young people and the community.