KHS’ Clara Farley and Brandy Berg Learn the Art of Politics at ‘Girls State’


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

Two Kodiak High School girls recently returned from a political boot camp hosted by the American Legion. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs has more.

Most girls grow up playing make believe house, but two Kodiak High School girls had an opportunity to play a different kind of house last week – as representatives for a mock House of Representatives.

The two soon to be seniors at KHS, Clara Farley and Brandy Berg, travelled to Wasilla and participated in Girls State, an annual chance for Alaskan youth to experience state government first hand.

Girls must apply for the program, and typically two girls from each high school are selected to attend. The trip is entirely funded by the American Legion, and Farley said it was the experience of a lifetime.

(Girls State 1: :14 sec "The whole point of the program…understanding of it.")

The girls were randomly separated into two parties, nationalist and federalist, and then assigned a job as either a representative in the House of Representatives or as a Senator in the Senate. Participants learned how to run a meeting, how congress works and how to put a bill through the process to eventually be passed into law. Each girl was required to think of their own idea for a bill and was encouraged to choose something they were passionate about.

(Girls State 2: :38 sec "It took me a while but I…Until the child had turned 18.")

Farley said her bill did well at first, but met some contention when it hit the Senate.

(Girls State 3: :18 sec "When it went through …it passed through the house .")

(Girls State 4: :06 sec "It didn’t pass in the Senate…a lot of really good discussion.")

Berg said she had a bit more luck with her bill.

(Auxillary 5: :11 sec "I wrote mine on that alcohol…in middle school grades.")

According to Farley, one of the best parts of the trip was a mock bill the entire Senate put together.

(Auxillary 6 :33sec "We had a little bit of a rivalry…stop believing by Journey.")

In retaliation, the House amended the bill to say all of the Senators had to eat their meals with random kitchen utensils the following day. The amended bill was passed, and then signed into law.

(Auxillary 7 :19ec "All of us representative girls….Kitchen utensils.")

At the end of the week-long program, two girls were chosen to represent Alaska and attend Girl Nation, in Maryland, which will take place in late July. Farley, along with a girl from Anchorage, was chosen and said the program will be exactly like Girl State, but on a bigger scale.

(Auxillary 8 :30ec "As my friend put it…Which is going to be a huge honor.")

Last year, the two girls from Alaska wrote a bill about ANWR and offshore oil drilling. That bill made it through the entire process and Farley said they have some very big shoes to fill. Right now they are discussing ideas for what their bill will be about.

Farley has worked as a secretary at Jamin Law Office here in Kodiak and hopes to study political science and pre law in college with the goal of eventually attending law school and maybe, just maybe, someday seeking her own spot in the oval office.

(Auxillary 9: :07sec "I don’t know if I’d be… my aspirations at this point.")

Before she does that, she said she wants to first meet President Barack Obama and ask him what he thinks has been the most difficult part of his job. Farley said she hopes to have that opportunity during Girls Nation next month.


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