Students get taste of government

By Helena Rodriguez

Jeremy Colbert lost his bid for attorney general of New Mexico on Wednesday and now the city councilman from Alamogordo has to deal with a fraudulent claims lawsuit between two cities.
Colbert isn’t losing any sleep over it, though. After all, he’s not even out of high school yet and the politics above are only make believe.
Colbert is one of some 200 high school juniors from around the state taking part in the annual New Mexico Boys State at Eastern New Mexico University this week. ENMU has hosted the annual event for seven years as students gather here each summer to participate in a mock government that can be dubbed “reality politics.”
Through the program, officials and local governments are elected on a local, state, county and national basis.
No students from Portales, Floyd, Elida, Dora or Melrose are participating in Boys State, which wraps up on Friday morning.
Three boys from Clovis are taking part in Boys State: Evan Buzzard, who was elected lieutenant governor; Nathan Cordova, who was elected county treasurer and Jacob Jones, who was elected to a mock state board of education.
“It’s learning by doing,” is how Ralph Kemp, director of New Mexico Boys State , describes the annual event.
There’s a little bit of politicking that goes on for students to participate in Boys State. They must be recommended to the program by a school or sponsor and ideally should have an interest in a possible future career in government.
“I’m really getting to know the laws and am now more into issues,” Colbert said. “Before this, I barely watched the news, but now I will probably watch it more. I don’t think I’ll actually go into law, but it has been fun.”
Students were saddened to learn Wednesday that Secretary of State, Rebecca Vigil-Giron, would not be able to make the event which she makes a point to attend annually. However, that didn’t slow down their mock legislature from going about its business of the week, including debating water issues in New Mexico. Kemp said students were also chosen to positions such as fire chiefs, police officers and judges and were staging civil lawsuit as well as criminal proceedings.
Incoming senior, Doug Haworth of Socorro, said he participated in Boys State at the suggestion of his family.
“They told me it looks good on a resume, with the training and experience I will get,” Haworth said. “Boys State has been great. It seems like we’re actually making a difference here and I feel we can help make a difference in the real world.”