XENIA — Shannon Moore and Lauren White for governor and lieutenant governor of Ohio in the next election.
OK, not really.
Actually, the mother-daughter duo from Xenia has been there, done that already — as far as the Buckeye Girls State is concerned. Moore attended Buckeye Girls State in 1987 and was elected governor. White attended just a few weeks ago and was elected lieutenant governor of the make-believe state at the University of Mount Union in Alliance.
Buckeye Girls State provides citizenship training for high school seniors-to-be. Attendees live together as self-governing citizens and learn about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship.
“It was a very life-changing event,” Moore said. “It opens your eyes of all the possibilities of the electoral process. When I became governor I realized this was kind of a big deal.”
Hearing about her mother’s experience made White think it was a big deal too. She jumped at the opportunity when she was approached by Vermon Dillon, a member of her church.
And why not? After all, White was a double legacy. In addition to Moore’s participation, Myron White attended the Illinois’ version of the boys state and was lieutenant governor.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” White said of her family history, adding there was no pressure to attend. “If I didn’t want to go I could have said no. It’s a great opportunity. I learned a lot.”
One thing both learned was that attending girls state is serious business. It’s basically an entire country jammed into one small college campus, learning the ins and outs of government.
“Every state office is available,” Moore said. “Each dorm is a county. Each floor is a city.” Attendees are split into Federalist and Nationalist parties. They stage campaigns and have real elections. Not all attendees run for offices but those that do can choose which office to seek.
The decision was an easy one for White.
“I said ‘go big or go home,’ ” she said. Her campaign platform, however, didn’t include showing off her pedigree.
“I wanted people to pick me because of who I am,” she said. “I didn’t want to run with (my legacy).”
Moore said she was proud of her daughter for being elected to such a high post. But quickly added that even if White had come back as a janitor, she would have still been proud.
“It’s about the learning process, not about the position,” Moore said.
White met current Gov. John Kasich as part of her swearing in. When Moore was sworn in, she had an inaugural ball and met then-Gov. Richard Celeste.
Then things start moving.
Fast. And then faster.
“It’s amazing how much we could get done in that amount of time as we did,” White said. “I would say we got things done much quicker (than the current government).”
Moore and White did their part to run the state. They looked at relevant topics and tried to push legislation through the house and senate. White said the focus was on education, environment, equality and economics.
“We weren’t allowed to be as controversial,” she said.
The only controversy was when a bill got stonewalled in congress or by the governor.
“We were allowed to veto things,” White said. “(Sometimes) we’d have to go down to (congress) and resolve their issues. I saw more of what (real politicians) go through, especially people in more power.”
White, who was sponsored by the Wilberforce Optimist Club and the Xenia Altrusa Club, may not be the last of her family to hold an esteemed office at girls state.
Her sister, Kristina, a freshman-to-be is also considering going if she is afforded the opportunity.
Mom offered some sound advice.
“Make it your own experience,” Moore said.
Just like her other family members did.