WASHINGTON – At this year’s Girls Nation, two young women from Oklahoma shared their experiences serving as senators in a mock congress and exploring the nation’s capital.
Girls Nation is hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary every year. Two girls from each state are voted on by their peers and represent their constituents in a mock senate. The governor and lieutenant governor from each state are sent to Washington.
Lily Battles is an incoming senior at Regent Preparatory School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was this year’s Oklahoma Girls State Lieutenant Governor.
Her interest in Girls State stems from her time as a member of her high school debate team and her interest in how things work.
“I’ve always had an interest in legislation and the process of making legislation, so I decided to pursue Girls State and now Girls Nation,” said Battles.
Battles says that while her time in Washington taught her many things, she believes she can take one thing back to better her community.
“I’ve learned to value so many different perspectives,” said Battles. “Coming from Oklahoma as a 17-year-old kid, I’ve never met with someone from Alaska or Hawaii or even South Dakota. It’s been a huge eye-opening experience.”
Kadee Jo Ransom will be a senior at Enid High School in the Fall, but not before she’s a senator at Girls Nation. After being elected as Governor at Girls State, she was able to experience what being a senator in Congress could look like.
From introducing legislation to voting on it, Ransom learned the ins and outs of what it means to be a part of the United States legislative branch.
“I never really knew how voting processes went, but I feel like now, from Girls State and ALA Girls Nation, I think I’ve learned so much,” said Ransom.
Ransom believes her experiences here can be brought back to Oklahoma for the good of herself and others. Her biggest takeaway from the week was collaborating with those who may have differing opinions.
“One of the biggest issues right now is everyone’s very divided. And here, you have to learn how to collaborate. Someone has a bill that you may not totally agree with, but you could amend it, and then you work together,” said Ransom.
Along with their responsibilities in the Girls Nation Senate, the girls were able to explore Washington. As Oklahoma girls, one thing they were amazed by was the trees.
“There are so many trees here, it’s literally the craziest thing ever,” said Ransom as Battles nodded in agreement. “I think I’ve seen more trees here than I’ve seen in my entire life.”
Both girls are self-proclaimed history buffs and were ecstatic to see such important historical landmarks in America’s history.
“It was definitely humbling to see the capitol building, just how big it was. I had never seen it before,” said Battles.
Gaylord News is a Washington-based reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.