Media Room


Boys and Girls State

June 15, 2015

Good morning and welcome to Salem and the historic Willamette University campus. I am glad to see students from every corner of Oregon convened here in the capital city for Boys and Girls State.

First – I’d like to thank the American Legion and Auxiliary for organizing this week. Beyond their significant work for our veterans and their families, the Legion has been a dedicated supporter of Boys and Girls State since founding the program in 1937. Please join me in giving them a round of applause for sponsoring all of you. 

You all are among the state’s high-fliers from high schools across the state. And as I arrived this morning, I was welcomed by your two governors – you are well represented by Jack Wickwire and Zoey Parker.

Jack of Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis is a member of National Honor Society and captain of his baseball team. His goal is to join the military as an aviator. Zoey from Ontario is going to attend Central Oregon Community College in Bend and major in anthropology. She plans to continue her education at Western Oregon University with the goal of becoming a forensic anthropologist or psychologist.

Govenor Wickwire, Governor Parker, my best wishes for every success.  And may your legislator colleagues be as well-behaved as mine. 

To each and every one of you, I recognize the hard work and leadership you have exhibited, at school, on the playing field and in the community. Your participation in Boys and Girls State confirms that civic engagement is alive and well in our state.

This week will put your talents and leadership to the test as you run for office, elect officials, draft platforms, debate bills, offer amendments, and vote – and your actions are documented and reported by your internal media. Right now, your citizen legislators across the street in the Capitol are doing the same.

Too often, we take for granted this important tradition of citizen engagement in politics and policy-making. When French historian and political philosopher Alex de Tocqueville [“TOKE-ville”] toured our country in the first half of the 19th century, he said the United States is the "one country in the world which, day in, day out, makes use of an unlimited freedom of political association.”

He also said “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

As we head toward Sine Die of the 78th Legislative Session, we can be proud of our state senators and representatives who govern in an open and transparent committee process. We do not always agree, but we always work hard to come together, listen to different perspectives, and make decisions about challenging issues that affect education, economic opportunity and our Oregon quality of life.

With your interest and commitment to our state, I have no doubt that there will be future leaders who will continue to step up to serve our fellow Oregonians.

Thank you for inviting me to speak today, it is my honor to be your Governor, and I look forward to hearing about the fruits of this week’s efforts. Thank you. ​