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A local student was elected to the highest position in a high school legislative program this summer.
Anna Cecile Pepper, a rising senior at Elizabethtown High School, served as the governor of the Girls State mock government session. Pepper was one of a few other local students who were elected to serve as representatives in the session. Anna Huffman and Kaitlyn Heuser, students at Central Hardin High School, served as auditor and treasurer, respectively, and Briana Quichocho, a student at Fort Knox High School, served as lieutenant governor.
Huffman went on to participate in the Girls Nation session this summer as well.
Pepper learned about the opportunity at school.
“And I’ve always been interested in politics and government, so it sounded like a perfect thing for me to do,” Pepper said.
At the conference, students split into two mock parties — the Federalists and the Nationalists — and begin campaigning for various positions. Pepper was chosen as the gubernatorial candidate from her party before running as governor for the entire conference. Candidates work to gain support from their party and give speeches as part of their campaign.
“I love a challenge,” she said. “It seemed like something fun to do.”
Pepper said she was shocked when she was chosen for the position.
“I was extremely happy and extremely grateful to all the girls who saw me as the best candidate,” she said.
Once elections are completed, the students draft, debate and vote on bills in the mock House of Representatives and Senate. Pepper, as governor, chose which to sign and which to veto. Though it’s a mock event, Pepper said the responsibilities inherent in creating legislation were illuminated for her.
“I found that whole process to be really, really interesting,” she said.
Pepper said the experience made her want to do something beneficial for the state as an adult, and she recommended the program to other students.
“I think it’s an amazing program,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be