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Release/P⁠i⁠c⁠t⁠ures: Top Tallahassee H⁠i⁠gh School Jun⁠i⁠ors Ga⁠i⁠n Hands-On Exper⁠i⁠ence a⁠t⁠ Governmen⁠t⁠ and Med⁠i⁠a Day

By: The James Madison Institute / 2015

Contact:  Valerie Wickboldt | | (850) 383-3131
Top Tallahassee High School Juniors Gain Hands-On Experience at Government and Media Day
~ Youth Leadership Tallahassee students network with media and government officials; participate in
budget balancing game and mock mayoral election at event sponsored by The James Madison Institute ~
TALLAHASSEE – Top high school juniors as part of the Youth Leadership Tallahassee (YLT) program gained hands-on experience in local and state government operations at the “2015 Government and Media Day,” a full-day workshop sponsored by The James Madison Institute (JMI). Students also participated in a networking luncheon with elected officials and members of the media.“One of the most enjoyable events we host at JMI has to be ‘Government and Media Day.’ It’s always inspiring to see the next generation passionate and thoughtful in their decision-making process throughout the day,” said Becky Liner, JMI executive vice president. “It’s very important for our future leaders to know, early on in their life, that their voice is vital and their involvement in all levels of government is crucial. The community leaders and media members that took time to join us today recognize this and we are thankful for their service.”“Government and Media Day” began with events at JMI’s Headquarters, The Columns, starting with “Principals of Good Decision Making,” followed by the “Mayor for a Day” Election where the Honorable Andrew Gillum, Mayor of the City of Tallahassee, spoke to students about his day-to-day responsibilities and what he loves most about serving the community.“It was a pleasure to share my perspective on our local government with the exceptional young people of Youth Leadership Tallahassee this morning,” said Mayor Gillum. “I was very impressed with their willingness to engage and their thoughtful questions, but I was most encouraged by the collective commitment to serving their community. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future of the Capital City, because the best is certainly yet to come!”After Mayor Gillum’s presentation, students heard prepared speeches from four YLT candidates for mayor. After a peer vote, an excited Nick Fontela was elected Mayor for the day.“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 Fontela. “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!”Students then enjoyed a luncheon and networking session with elected officials and members of the media including:

Government: State Representative Alan Williams; County Commissioners John Dailey, Kristin Dozier and Nick Maddox; and City Commissioner Scott Maddox
Media: Michael Auslen, Tampa Bay Times; Lynn Hatter, WFSU; Abbey Maurer, WTXL ABC 27; Tia Mitchell, Florida Times-Union; Gray Rohrer, Orlando Sentinel; and Tom Urban, News Service of Florida

Afternoon events included an executive decision-making game called ‘Bill or No Bill’ held at the Florida Capitol, and a mock court case acted out at the Florida Supreme Court.
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 or Twitter: @JmsMadisonInst – Facebook: