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Campbellsville University hosts Kentucky Boys State

June 13, 2016

For Immediate Release


By Josh Christian, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Around the Kentucky Boys State logo is a sentence that reads: “A week that shapes a lifetime.” Campbellsville University hosted the group of 115 young men Saturday, June 4 through Friday, June 10.

“The program has had a long rich tradition nationally and throughout the Commonwealth for preparing young men for civic participation and military service,” Max Wise, Kentucky State Senator and associate professor of political science at Campbellsville University, said.

Wise said this program impacted him as he was also a 1992 Boys State alumnus. Wise said he learned “leadership, integrity and service” while at Boys State.

Kentucky Boys State, which was previously held at Morehead State University and at Wendell Ford Training Center in Greenville, Ky., looked to Campbellsville University as a more permanent central location, according to Wise.

Campbellsville University’s Michael V. Carter, president, and Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, had the opportunity to speak at this event.

james comer
Former Kentucky House of Representative and Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, gives a lecture to Kentucky Boys State students and challenges them to be the next generation of leaders. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Carter emphasized character development and the importance of being a person of faith. Citing the November 1970 plane crash that resulted in the deaths of around 75 Marshall University football players and coaches, Carter discussed the implications he found in serving others in his Christian walk.

Carter challenged the Boys State students to become men of character and faith, and, ultimately, to be servant leaders.

Chowning spoke on a call to public service in America. Challenging the students to become lifelong historians, Chowning discussed the importance of knowing the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and made sure they understood the importance of voting for transparent officials.

James Comer, previous member of the Kentucky State House of Representatives and Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, also spoke during the week.

Encouraging students to help better their local towns and governments, Comer told students to begin preparing for their futures now.

“Even when I was young, I knew I wanted to be in politics,” Comer said. “When there was an election, I wanted to be involved.”

Comer shared about his political experience, acknowledging the amount of work that it took to get to where he is now- a Congressional candidate for Kentucky’s first district.

crowd with james comer
Former Kentucky House of Representative and Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, gives a lecture to Kentucky Boys State students and challenges them to be the next generation of leaders. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Comer knew he wanted to run for the Kentucky’s House of Representatives after getting involved with local officials.

“I knew we needed a state representative that is active and engaged,” Comer said.

Comer succeeded in this regard.

“The day I entered office I was 27,” Comer said.

Comer served six terms as a state representative and decided to run for the seat of the Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner in 2011, which he won.

“2011 was a bad year to be a Republican,” Comer said. From 2011 to 2015, Comer was the only Republican candidate in office.

After serving as the agriculture commissioner and attempting to make it a transparent government organization, Comer decided to run against Matt Bevin for the governor’s seat in 2015 but lost by the closest margin in a governor’s race in United States history.

Comer told the students hard work would be necessary for their future careers as leaders.

“I worked very hard to get in this position,” Comer said. “I feel like I am experienced and ever since I was your age, I worked hard to get there.”

Comer said his main goal in speaking to the Kentucky Boys State program was to inspire the next generation of leaders, especially leaders at a local level.

“I believe our small towns have a future,” Comer said.

Kentucky Boys State also hosted a variety of other speakers, giving the students the opportunity to hear different perspectives.

“I like Boys State. It is a learning experience. I mean, it is what you make of it. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication,” Damon Mansfield, Boys State participant from Radcliff, Ky., said.

At Boys State, students also take part in government processes as each participant is elected to a local, county or state office. Students then take part in mock legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies and journalism programs.

Kentucky Boys State was established in Kentucky in 1940 and the American Legion selects rising seniors in high schools to participate each year.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 24 master’s degrees, seven postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is