Posted Online: March 08, 2012, 7:22 pm

College students take crack at running the state

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Photo: Todd Welvaert
Augustana College junior Eric Palmer, 21, Aledo, was elected governor for the Model Illinois Government, March 6, 2012. Model Illinois Government is an annual program for Illinois college students that have an interest in politics and government. The students participated in mock procedures of elections, legislation, and judicial review. Each student either played the role of a Representative, Senator, or a statewide official.
Augustana College student Eric Palmer is the new "governor" of Illinois, elected as such by delegates to the annual Model Illinois Government convention held recently in Springfield.

Mr. Palmer, a political science major, said the student legislature voted down a Constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman; granted the state power to set tuition rates rather than leave changes to individual schools; legalized medical marijuana and doctor-assisted suicide; cut the salary of the governor by 20 percent; and removed almost $1 billion from the budget,

"You might find that the students do a better job of debating and solving the problems before Illinois than the real legislators themselves," Mr. Palmer said.

Among the approximately 250 stuidents who participated was a delegatiion from Black Hawk College, which grants students class credit for attending.

During the four-day event -- the organization's 34th -- the students participated in mock procedures of elections, legislation and judicial review. Each student played the role of a representative, senator or statewide official.

The organization is run by students guided by an executive board including all of the state's constitutional officers. As governor, Mr. Palmer will be active in planning next year's event.

For more information, visit modelillinoisgovernment.org or its Facebook page.