The Bluebonnet is the official newsletter of Texas Bluebonnet Girls State. It chronicles our session and identifies all elected officials. The 2016 edition of The Bluebonnet is available for download here.
City I is the 2016 winner of the Bluebonnet Cup. Girls State holds the annual competition for the Cup in which cities are awarded points for participation in legislative sessions, elections, lectures, and other parts of the program. Congratulations to the City I Instagrammers and their counselors for a job well done!
On Saturday, June 18th, Director Lori Swann announced that Taylor Wright and Morgan Grosch were selected to attend Girls Nation later this summer. Wright lives in Houston and was sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 127 Tomball and Grosch of Cedar Park was sponsored by ALA Unit 911 Cedar Park. Wright served as Floor Leader for the Federal Party and was also elected Precinct 2 Chair of the Federal Party of Tejas County. She also sang in the Girls State Talent Show. Grosch served as Tejas County Precinct 1 Chair.
First alternate is Emmie Bribiesca of Keller and second alternate is Lois Owolabi. Bribiesca served as the Governor for the 2016 session, while Owolabi served as the Attorney General. Congratulations to these four exceptional citizens.
Each city at Girls State selected an Outstanding Citizen, who were all recognized by Girls State Director Lori Swann on Saturday, June 18th. Outstanding Citizens are
City A: Kylee Gillenwaters; City B: Jessica Teeple; City C: AP Velasco; City D: Ashton Woods; City E: Lois Owolabi; City F: Nohely Lozano; City G: Keiko Stanberry; City H: Haley Hefner; City I: Elnora Awatt; City J: Justyn Tedder; City K: Taylor Wright; City L: Jacey Snapp; City M: Taylor Helmcamp; City N: Morgan Grosch
On Thursday, June 16th, Federal Party candidate Emmy Bribiesca was elected 2016 Bluebonnet Girls State Governor. Madison Shaw was elected Lieutenant Governor. Other winners were Lois Owolabi, Attorney General; Qi Wang, Comptroller of Public Accounts; Lauren Bentley, Commissioner of General Land; Jacey Snapp, Agricultural Commissioner; Kendra Hess, Railroad Commissioner; Thanvi Thodati, Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals; Alison Yarto, Chief Justice, Supreme Court. Citizens also approved a constitutional amendment establishing annual legislative sessions.
One highlight of Girls State is participating in the mock political parties, the National Party and the Federal Party. As a member of these parties, each GS citizen has a voice in creating their party platform during the state conventions. Girls create these platforms based on issues in both their fictional Girls State cities and their real home towns. This year, the National Party platform concentrated on environmental safety, education, economic reform, civil safety, and health. The Federal Party platform focused on education reform, human rights, as well as tax, environmental, and health care reforms. More information about each party’s platform follows:
Federal Party Platform:
Let it be known that the Federal Party of Bluebonnet Girls State has organized itself in support of the following goals and ideas:
I. Education Reform
- Funding Arts and Clubs
- Increasing teacher salaries
- Adjusted curriculum
- Early implementation of bilingual programs
II. Human Rights
- Justice Reform
- Increased training for law enforcement
- Volunteer informational Programs
- Police Brutality Awareness
- Promote education for women’s rights
- Promote education for LGBT rights
III. Tax Reform
- Allocate money for infrastructure and education
- Allocate money for First Responders
IV. Environmental Reform
- Funding recycling programs
- Volunteer based
- Introduction of alternative energy sources
- Further Wildlife Preservation
V. Health Reform
- Increase availability of insurance to reach universal coverage
VI. Infrastructure Improvement
- Target unemployment through infrastructure projects
- Promote the building and funding of recreational centers
- Promote the funding and maintenance of parks
National Party Platform:
Let it be known that the National Party of Bluebonnet Girls State has organized itself in support of the following goals and ideas:
- Preservation of environment/natural resources
- Pollution prevention programs
- Go green initiatives – increase green transportation
- Natural disaster prevention and safety programs
- Youth mobilization programs: career exploration programs/life skills
- Redistribution of funding for districts and programs
- Addressing and identifying learning disabilities
- Infrastructure repair and development
- Funding reevaluation for officers/public service officers
- Diversification of careers and industries; pro small-business
- Gun education and safety
- Distracted driving prevention
- Anti-discrimination programs
- Mental health support and care, particularly for Veterans
- Affordable and accessible heath care
- Increased health inspections in schools
On Tuesday Anna Beth Gorman and Myra Hester visited Girls State to share their experiences and offer advice to the citizens of the 2016 session. Anna Beth Gorman is currently the Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, and she is a former citizen and staff member of Texas Bluebonnet Girls State. During her talk at Girls State, she shared with the girls that you can find a successful balance between your personal and professional life. As young women, the girls have a lot of power and should never sell themselves short.
Myra Hester is a former President, American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Texas. This is Ms. Hester’s 50th consecutive year serving on the staff of Texas Bluebonnet Girls State. She relayed to the girls that they are the best advocates for themselves, and that “expectations come from you.” Even though the women were generations apart, they shared a similar message of hope and achievement.
Citizens were previously treated to visits by Paula Raney, President, American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Texas; John McKinney, President, American Legion, Department of Texas; Don Kiel, Mayor, Seguin, Texas; and Steve Anderson, Assistant to the President for Administration and Public Affairs, Texas Lutheran University.