870 High School boys from around Wisconsin are learning about Government, and stretching their comfort zone this week in Ripon. The annual Badger Boys State gives incoming Seniors, the opportunity to participate in a week long camp that is focused on relationship building through the government of a mock 51st State.
Shawano’s Gage Pillsbury is making the most of his time by running for office. Recently elected Mayor of his mock city, Pillsbury said the support he received from others was tied to his past experiences and his ability to make friends quickly.
“It took me about a day to get people to start feeling comfortable around me. There are around 98 people in this dorm and I am still trying to learn the names” Pillsbury said. “I started blending in and people started feeling comfortable with me. They learned that I was into politics and they thought that I would be a good leader.”
Pillsbury won the Mayoral election for the City of Farwell in Walker County. Through that process, he was able to make appointments to the city government.
Pillsbury said his resume including some strong leadership opportunities.
“They saw that I was an Eagle Scout, and many voted for me just because of that.”
Gage said coming into the week, he was not sure what to expect, or what Badger Boys State is all about.
“I was told by others who were here before me, that if they told me, it would ruin it for me.”
With his mom Alysia Pillsbury being on the Shawano School Board, Gage said he is a little fimilar how governing bodies work.
“My mom has been bringing me to events like the Republican Party Caucuses and Lincoln Reagen Dinners, so I have a little idea how this all works” Pillsbury said.
Not wanting to waste anytime, Gage went right into running for positions right away, which included a top position at the County level.
“I was previously the chairman of the Nationalist Party for my County early in the week” said Gage.
“The Chairman is pretty much exactly the same thing as Mayor, so I thought since I already did not Chairman position so I can be a Mayor too.”
Gage is not done yet. He is hoping he can represent the Nationalist Party as he plans to run for Badger Boys State Governor.
The position carries the ability to go down in Badger Boys State History, the chance to look at current policies that exist in the Badger Boys State governor, meet Governor Scott Walker and the chance to appoint the State level Governmental positions for the remainder of the week.
The election process is similar to what currently exists in Wisconsin. One delegate from each party will earn their parties nomination through voting. A general election will determine the Badger Boys State Governor, but Pillsbury said that comes with a lot of hard work.
The work includes collecting signatures, giving speeches and meeting everyone.
“There is not a single person that I have not talked to about what they want to do and how I can improve their stay at Badger Boys State” Pillsbury said.
“Many want to know why I would be a good Governor. I tell them I am an Eagle Scout, I have been dedicated to scouting for 11 years. I have gone to many places for mission trips. I am dedicated to serving other people, so if they elect me I will look forward to serving them. ”
Through a short period of time, Gage has made new friends, gotten new experiences, and may have a story to tell for a lifetime.
If Gage Pillsbury is elected Governor, he will be the third from Shawano to do so in the Boys State 78-year history.