Each year, some of Delaware's best and brightest high school students leave their hometowns and head to Legislative Hall in Dover for an exercise in democracy.
As part of the Boys and Girls State programs, these young leaders jump right into the debates that have shaped how their generation looks at both the limits and power of new public policies. They elect from their peers their own Boys and Girls State Governors, Lt. Governors, Speakers of the House, Presidents of the Senate and other leadership roles, who are then paired up with the adults their parents, friends and public officials selected for those jobs in real-life.
Each year, those of us blessed with the chance to serve, gain so much from these students' enthusiasm and optimism -- their unshakeable belief that what draws them together as students is so much stronger than the differences that emerge from their debates.
They also serve as a reminder -- that the fights we may wage to put new policies in place -- from getting people back to work to improving the performance of kids in our great public schools -- aren't about sound bites or speeches. They're about making sure those kids graduate with a better chance to succeed in work or college and making sure they or their parents have a better shot -- not just at a job, but at a career. It's about making clear that we need to stay fiscally responsible now and not just push today's bills back for future generations to pay.
When Boys and Girls State is over, the students will head back to their hometowns to talk about the bills they proposed and passed and share what they learned during their time together. When the legislative session ends on June 30th, members of the General Assembly will do the same. Whether it's bills they pass to put more people to work, or laws that improve public safety, or efforts to cut government costs or initiatives that make government more transparent and accountable, they'll have plenty to talk about when it comes to what they got done and how they did it.
The unity evident each year from the Boys and Girls State participants and the brave veterans from the American Legion who support them -- the clarity of their purpose and the civility they show in their own debates -- it reminds us just how much stronger we are, when we work together, to keep Delaware, moving forward.