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Boys State officials put politics to the test

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Gov. Ted Strickland, right, meets with Buckeye Boys State's top elected officials, Gov. James Evans, left, and Lt. Gov. John Jones, at Bowling Green State University. 'These guys are the cream of the crop,' Mr. Strickland said of the 1,189 soon-to-be high school seniors taking part in the hands-on government program.

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BOWLING GREEN - Gov. Ted Strickland mused over comparisons between his administration and the mock state government officials who are running the show at Buckeye Boys State.

"The issues these kids are addressing are the types of questions we should be asking in Columbus," the governor said after talking with students during his first visit to the program.

The boys told Mr. Strickland about their plans for alternative energy sources and environmental protection, among other issues.

"Great ideas. Send them on to my office," the governor said.

Governor Strickland and Treasurer Richard Cordray yesterday visited the mock state government gathered this week at Bowling Green State University. The 1,189 soon-to-be high school seniors are taking part in the annual hands-on government program sponsored by the American Legion since 1936.

During the week, the boys learn the inner workings of city, county, and state governments by campaigning for political positions and working throughout the week to establish a functioning government, program spokesman Bill Strong said.

"They do everything exactly like real life," he said. "Except, here, the boys do it the way it's supposed to be done. We teach them to do it the right way."

Gov. James Evans of Berlin Center said he's been busy since elections Monday night, but he thinks he is past the biggest challenge of his job: getting started.

He said the next hardest part will be getting all of his administration to work together as a team. "I need to know how to make everyone come together and accomplish our objectives in just a week," he said.

Governor Evans and Lt. Gov. John Jones, of Massillon, met in their office with Governor Strickland before he addressed the rest of the state government officials. They asked him how he achieves unity among his administration.

The governor said the key is an open attitude and constant communication.

Treasurer Cordray, who attended Boys State in 1976, talked one-on-one with the boys in charge of the state treasury, advising them on the functions and operations of their office.

Even though Governor Strickland did not attend Boys State, he said many of his colleagues are graduates of the program, and would not be surprised to see many of the 2007 delegates in political office one day.

"These guys are the cream of the crop," he said. "This is the future of Ohio."

This year marks the 30th consecutive year that BGSU has hosted the event. To commemorate the anniversary, the university will dedicate a flagpole to the program tomorrow.

Contact Maggie Reid at:

mreid@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.

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