Boys State elects governor, other officers

June 15 2006

Darrell Comer Jr.
Darrell Comer Jr.
Darrell Comer Jr. may have been dressed to impress during a debate by candidates for governor of Hoosier Boys State this week, but the teen-ager gives credit for his victory to his casual campaign.

The 17-year-old senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis said he hadn't decided whether or not he would run for governor before hand, but once he got to Boys State on the Indiana State University campus, it was the encouragement of his fellow delegates that cemented his decision to run.

"After talking to a couple of guys, I realized I had a chance and I really just wanted to be a part of the whole tradition," Comer said.

Politics moves quickly at Hoosier Boys State, the annual exercise in democracy and civic involvement sponsored by the American Legion Department of Indiana.

Following a primary election on Tuesday, candidates for governor conducted a debate Wednesday morning, and balloting in the general election began at 11 a.m. Results of the voting were announced shortly after 2 p.m., with Comer, choice of the Nationalist Party, defeating Federalist candidate Ian Laue of La Porte.

Just hours later, Comer was sworn in as governor of the 69th Hoosier Boys State and given a list of cabinet positions to fill.

"Hoosier Boys State is full of intelligent guys with great ideas, so it shouldn't be to hard to fill those positions. I will just be here to lead and guide them," Comer said.

After Hoosier Boys State is over, Comer will attend Boys Nation in Washington D.C., and will receive a $1,000 scholarship he can use when attends college.

Comer is the son of Darrell Comer Sr. and Vicki Comer of Indianapolis. He is a senior at North Central High School. He is president of the senior class and a member of the debate team. In the future, he would like to attend law school and run for political office.

Nate DeLong
Nate DeLong
Lieutenant governor has sights on "highest office"

Nate DeLong of rural Springville plans a career in law and politics and says he has his sights set on "the highest office there is."

On Wednesday, DeLong took a good first step by getting himself elected lieutenant governor of Hoosier Boys State at Indiana State University, the annual exercise in democracy and civic involvement sponsored by the Indiana Department of the American Legion.

Though he may have aspirations of higher office, DeLong - an incoming senior at Eastern High School - decided instead to seek the second highest position on the ballot in the mythical 51st state populated by more than 600 boys from throughout Indiana.

"I thought about governor, but the governor's race seemed to be a lot of hurdles to jump through," the 17-year-old said. "In the interest of enjoying my time here at Boys State I sought after the most prestigious position without all those hurdles."

DeLong serves on the student council at Eastern and is a member of the science club. He also occasionally leads the pep band in the director's absence. He calls Boys State a great real-world experience.

"Every facet of it reflects the true government of Indiana and the political processes, from cutthroat tactics to nomination. I have seen emotion and I have seen revenge in every way you could imagine," he said. "It's really been educational for me in kind of the abstract, just learning how people will react to different situations and how logically it applies to the true government."

Asked what issues most interest him at the state or national level, DeLong cited the ongoing debate on Capitol Hill about immigration laws.

"It's unrealistic to think that we could deport that many non-citizens," he said. "I think that with just a little bit of work we could mainstream their social contribution. It's unrealistic to take away what they have contributed, even if it's been in an illegal way, in the form of their working. Honestly, we need people to work and if illegal immigrants have the jobs and Americans are unwilling to take them, that's the fault of the Americans."

DeLong is the son of Janet and Vaughn DeLong. He said he is looking into a number of universities for when he graduates from Eastern in 2007. He plans to study finance or economics and then pursue law school and an MBA.

Darrell Comer Jr, a senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, was elected governor of Hoosier Boys State.

Other Boys State officers elected Wednesday:

Secretary of State, Andrew Miller, Spencerville East Side High School

Attorney General, Michael Mahoney, Indianapolis, North Central High School

Treasurer, Jonathan Welling, Fort Wayne, Bishop Luers High School

Auditor of State, Matt Wan, West Lafayette, West Lafayette High School

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Carter Beckham, West Lafayette, William Henry Harrison High School

Clerk of the Supreme and Appellate Court, Lawrence Vaugan III, Portage, Portage High School.

Hoosier Boys State activities continue on the Indiana State campus through Saturday, when more than 600 delegates return home and the girls take over for the 65th Hoosier Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.

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Contact: Bill Jackson, director, Hoosier Boys State, (812) 237-8121

Writers: Rachel Wyly, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3773 or rwyly@mymail.indstate.edu and Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Delegates to the 69th Hoosier Boys State at Indiana State University chose Darrell Comer Jr, a student at North Central High School in Indianapolis, as governor. Nate DeLong of Springville, who attends Eastern High School in Greene County was chosen lieutenant governor.

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