LYNCHBURG – Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Staunton, this morning addressed select high school students attending the 70th session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia being held this week at Liberty University in Lynchburg.
Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), participating for his second time as an instructor in the Boys State program, spoke on "Virginia Government - Origins to Today." He described the history and legislative process of the Virginia General Assembly including how a bill becomes law. Bell also discussed his duties and challenges as a state Delegate along with various current policy and political issues facing state government in Virginia. He answered several questions from the Boys State citizens.
The 2012 session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia opened yesterday with 740 delegates in attendance. Outstanding rising seniors from high schools – public, private and homeschooled -- across Virginia have been chosen to participate in this annual educational program.
Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion in each state, is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government. Delegates to this intensive week-long session will hear addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, former Attorney General and state Supreme Court Justice, a deputy cabinet secretary, five members of the General Assembly, a district judge, a state prosecutor and four local officials.
All delegates are assigned to one of sixteen Boys State cities named after famous military leaders, like Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton. Each of the Boys State citizens are also assigned to either of the fictitious political parties -- Federalist or Nationalist -- for purposes of nominating and electing candidates for mayor of each city, the Boys State legislature, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor along with various other state and local offices. Citizens elected to the various positions actually serve in those offices during the week and take on their respective duties and responsibilities. Students attending Boys State learn citizenship and civic leadership through participation.
The first Boys State in the nation was held in 1935 in Illinois. The American Legion Department of Virginia sponsored its first Boys State program in 1939.
Principal speakers for the remainder of this week include: Lieutenant Governor William T. Bolling (10:00 am on Tuesday, June 19); Supreme Court Justice William C. Mims (1:15 pm on Tuesday, June 19) and Governor Robert F. McDonnell (8:00 am on Friday, June 22).