Press Releases

Mock Elec⁠t⁠⁠i⁠on, Cour⁠t⁠ Case and Comm⁠i⁠ss⁠i⁠on Mee⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ng Headl⁠i⁠ne Governmen⁠t⁠ and Med⁠i⁠a Day for Top Tallahassee H⁠i⁠gh School Jun⁠i⁠ors

By: The James Madison Institute / 2012

October 9, 2012
Valerie Wickboldt
(850) 383-3131 x 628
Mock Election, Court Case and Commission Meeting Headline Government and Media Day for Top Tallahassee High School Juniors
~Youth Leadership Tallahassee students network with media and government officials; gain hands-on experience through event sponsored by The James Madison Institute~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, 36 Youth Leadership Tallahassee (YLT) students networked with elected officials and media members, as well as gained hands-on experience in local and state government operations at Government and Media Day, a full-day workshop sponsored by The James Madison Institute (JMI).“This is the fifth year we have sponsored this event, and it’s always enjoyable to see the students excited about the different activities,” said Becky Liner, JMI executive vice president. “It’s very important for our future leaders to know, early on in their youth, that their voice is vital and their involvement in all levels of government is crucial. The community leaders that took time out of their busy lives to join us today recognize this, and we are thankful for their service.” Government and Media Day began with events in City Hall starting with Principles of Good Decision-Making led by Jeb Blackburn, Executive Director at Florida Community College Activities Association, Inc. Next, students participated in a Mayor for a Day election. “With much of the national discussion focused on the presidential election, it was really interesting to learn more about a very significant local electoral process,” said Rob Bevis, YLT and Community Christian student. “I always hear people talk about the importance of voting for president, but voting in local elections is equally as important. I can’t wait until I’m old enough to participate myself!”Following the morning session, YLT students met up at The Columns historical building, the new JMI headquarters, for a mock county commissioners meeting, followed by a networking lunch with top media members and elected officials. Lunch attendees included:

Government: Kristin Dozier (Leon County Commission), Andrew Gillum (Tallahassee City Commission), Nick Maddox (Leon County Commission), Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (Florida House of Representatives), Alan Williams (Florida House of Representatives), and Gil Ziffer (Tallahassee City Commission)
Media: Lynn Hatter (WFSU-FM reporter), Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Capital Bureau Chief), TJ Lewis ( founder) Rebeccah Cantley Lutz (Tallahassee Democrat managing editor), Abbey Maurer (WTXL Sunrise/Noon show anchor), and Neil Skene (St. Petersburg Times, Creative Loafing, and Congressional Quarterly former editor/publisher).

Afternoon events included a mock executive decision-making game called “Bill or No Bill” held in the House Chamber of the Florida Capitol, and a moot court case on the First Amendment acted out at the Florida Supreme Court.  “JMI and YLT put on a great workshop for these bright, young leaders,” said Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee), a long-time supporter of YLT and a Leadership Tallahassee (LT) graduate and past chair of the LT Board of Governors. “Having this unique opportunity to acquire a base knowledge of local and state government, and election processes, as well as interact with such accomplished media members and local policy makers is invaluable.”For additional information please contact Valerie Wickboldt at 850.386.3131 x 628 or
Trusted Solutions for a Better Florida: Founded in 1987, The James Madison Institute (JMI) is Florida’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization. JMI is dedicated to advancing such ideals as economic freedom, limited government, federalism, traditional values, the rule of law, and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. All JMI publications are available online at For additional information please contact Valerie Wickboldt at 850.386.3131 x 628 or Twitter: @JmsMadisonInst – Facebook:
2012 Government & Media Day Press Release (PDF)