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Students visit MGA Leadership Conference in Richmond

Students+gather+with+officials+at+the+MGA+Leadership+Conference
Students gather with officials at the MGA Leadership Conference

Students gather with officials at the MGA Leadership Conference

Students gather with officials at the MGA Leadership Conference

Wesley Short

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Two weeks ago, students from Graham attended the MGA Leadership Conference in Richmond. The conference is very similar to that of Student Government Day, which focused on legislation in the town of Bluefield. However, this event involves students from all over the state and focuses on state legislation. The MGA Leadership Conference is also taken much more seriously than the Student Government Day, in that it focuses on much more practical and realistic legislation, such as how to punish citizens for crimes they are found guilty of. Two students, Sam Shoemaker and Andrew Brown, talk about their experience there.

“We all go into committee and do things that the actual legislators do, and form a model general assembly (MGA).”, says Sam Shoemaker, along with Andrew Brown. “We were there for four days. We usually go a day early so we’re there before the other schools.” Andrew Brown recalls legislation that he passed last year when he attended the conference. “Last year I sponsored a bill that was passed; it was on reinstating parole in Virginia… My bill was to reinstate that to people convicted of new crimes to kind of give people a second chance.” Andrew claims it’s a great, and sometimes odd experience. “One bill that was introduced was the ‘Wheel of Destiny Bill’. They wanted every single crime to be punished by a spin of the wheel, and it would land on something like ‘Electric Chair Execution’, ‘Fed to Sharks’, ‘Gladiator Duel’, and a ‘Get out of Jail Free Card’. It was crazy. Needless to say, it didn’t make it through.”

Some officials were there that the students shadowed or learned from. For this year, Andrew Brown was a Floor Leader while Sam Shoemaker was Committee Chair. “We went up for a preparation day, and we met delegate Moorefield from this area, met the floor leader and the committee chair, and it was really cool. We learned a lot, and had a fun experience with it.”

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Students visit MGA Leadership Conference in Richmond