Isaac Buchholtz, an incoming senior at T.F. Riggs High School, Pierre, has been selected as a senator for American Legion Boys Nation in the Washington, D.C. area, July 19-26.
Boys Nation is an annual American Legion program that includes civic training, leadership development and a focus on Americanism. Of the roughly 100 participants, Buchholtz previously served as party secretary, county secretary, and city recreation director at South Dakota Boys State. Buchholtz will be joined by Caleb Weiland, Beresford High School, in representing South Dakota at Boys Nation.
At Riggs, Buchholtz has served as a student senate officer. Other activities include football, hockey, track & field, coaching, and National Honor Society. He hopes to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and work a career in international military relations.
During their eight days at Boys Nation, 100 senators (two from each state with the exception of Hawaii, and the District of Columbia) will learn from a hands-on approach how the U.S. Senate and the federal government function.
Young men are divided into two political parties, the Federalists and the Nationalists, each of which conducts a party convention, sets a platform, and nominates members for elected offices, including Boys Nation president, vice president and party leaders. Each senator also writes, introduces, and debates a bill of his choosing before an appropriate Senate committee. If successful at that level, the legislation will be voted on by the whole Boys Nation Senate. Bills passing the Senate are later signed or vetoed by the Boys Nation president.
The young men will also tour the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall and Korean War Memorial. They will present a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, view the Iwo Jima Memorial, and visit Capitol Hill for meetings with their state’s U.S. senators. They may visit the White House as well. Delegates attend a dinner at a nearby Legion post hosted by National Commander Brett Reistad of Virginia.
This year’s crop of Boys Nation senators represent the finest of nearly 20,000 incoming seniors who attended the 50 annual Boys State programs. Famous Boys Nation alumni include former President Bill Clinton, actor Donal Logue, Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker, and Senators Mike Lee and Tom Cotton. Notable Boys State alumni include Tom Brokaw, Michael Jordan, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Neil Armstrong, Roger Ebert and Justice Samuel Alito.