On Monday, June 23, Mayor William Laforet, of Mahwah Township, addressed statesmen of the American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS). With 924 statesmen in attendance, from 325 communities across New Jersey, Mayor Laforet spoke as a featured speaker on municipal government.
This year, American Legion Post 531 sponsored six delegates from Mahwah High School: Jacob Clarke, Thomas Galow, Ian Heinz, Kevin Himber, Thomas Kessler, Anthony Peri and Joshua Pirod.
“We continue to invite Mayor Laforet to Jersey Boys State to give our statesman a first-hand account of municipal government,” said David Bagatelle, Director of ALJBS.
“For the past three sessions, Mayor Laforet has delivered expert advice and knowledge about governmental procedures.”
Director Bagatelle, a 21 year resident of Mahwah, was a delegate of the program in 1981. Bagatelle completed his ninth year serving as Director and his 33rd year on staff.
The hands-on approach for teaching civics and government in action at the local, county and state level allows each statesmen to run for many offices from Mayor—to County Freeholder—and to Boys Nation Senator – among many others.
Throughout the week-long program, statesmen:
- Heard from notable speakers including Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Cory Booker, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Congressman Leonard Lance, CBS 3 Philadelphia’s Jessica Dean, US Senate candidate Jeffrey Bell, former Congressman Bob Inglis (SC), among many others;
- Visited the ALJBS College Fair featuring nearly 100 institutions from across the country;
- Attended leadership and career seminars featuring business executives, military representatives, political consultants, law experts and journalists, among other professional experts;
- Elected the 69th ALJBS Governor on Thursday, June 26; and
- Elected two Boys Nation Senators on Friday June 27, who will represent New Jersey at the annual American Legion Boys Nation program in Washington D.C., from July 18-26, 2014.
Notable ALJBS alumni include Governor Christopher Christie (Boys Nation Senator, 1979), Senator Robert Menendez (1971), Senator Cory Booker (1986), Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (1967), Congressman Leonard Lance (1969) and Assemblyman Herbert Conaway (ALJBS Governor, 1980).