Tallahassee Democrat Chronicle
“Top Florida students Gather for State Conference”
August 4, 2015More than 300 rising seniors from across the state of Florida participated in a panel discussion hosted by The James Madison Institute (JMI) in coordination with the weeklong American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Conference today. The conference provides the opportunity for Girls State Delegates from all Florida counties to participate in mock elections, learn about how Florida’s state and local governments operate, as well as how to be an active, responsible citizen.The “Women in Government” discussion panel is a featured annual event under JMI’s Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for American Ideals. The panel led by Rebecca Liner, JMI executive vice president and former Girls State Delegate, included women from the three branches of Florida’s government.“We are thrilled to host such inspirational panelists for this fun and informative discussion with these bright young leaders,” Liner said. “It is our hope that these young women can see the value of public service and the importance of becoming involved in their communities, whether that means running for office or being an engaged citizen. Talking with successful women in government roles and hearing their triumphs and challenges between work and family life is important for our young leaders.”Panel speakers included:• Legislative: State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee)• Judicial: Former Circuit Judge Josefina Tamayo, 2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Leon County• Executive: Lieutenant Colonel Kelly Hildreth, Florida Highway Patrol and Deputy Director for Field Operations“I am honored to be part of Girls State again this year,” said Deputy Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, Lt. Col. Kelly Hildreth. “Challenging Florida’s teens to pursue their goals in public service is a rewarding experience. Girls State is a great platform to encourage young ladies to see that anything is possible.”“Every year these enthusiastic young ladies travel to our Capital City from all over Florida to learn about state government and the political process while developing leadership skills and an appreciation for their rights as citizens,” said Representative Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee). “They worked hard to get here and they continue to work hard while they are here. To take the Girls State Motto ‘Forward Forever, Backward Never, Within Ourselves Our Future Lies’ one step further, our future lies not just within ourselves but also within these Girls State participants who someday may very well be occupying the House Chamber as an elected member of the Florida House of Representatives.”Article: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/chronicle/2015/08/04/top-florida-students-gather-state-conference/31126225/