Politics & Government

Governor of all-male Kansas student mock government sought repeal of women’s suffrage

Rep. Ann Wagner speaks in support of 19th Amendment

During a House session on May 21, 2019, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri spoke about the 100th anniversary of House passage of the 19th Amendment, which acknowledged women's right to vote.
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During a House session on May 21, 2019, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri spoke about the 100th anniversary of House passage of the 19th Amendment, which acknowledged women's right to vote.

Correction: An earlier version of this story made reference to an apology video posted by Boys State of Kansas. That video was unrelated to the proposed executive order and was posted before it occurred.

A Leavenworth teen elected governor in this year’s Kansas Boys State mock government used the final moments of his term to propose an executive order to repeal the constitutional amendment that provides women the right to vote.

In a statement provided to The Star, the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy apologized for the student’s actions pretending to repeal the 19th Amendment.

The move came just days before the 100th anniversary of Kansas ratifying the actual amendment.

Kansas Boys State is a statewide organization that hosts a yearly mock state legislature session to teach young men about government.

“The actions were highly advised against by our staff and do not reflect the Boys State of Kansas values of respect and inclusion of all people,” the statement said. “The American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy apologizes for any insensitivity expressed by this unenforceable order. It is a teachable moment for everyone.”

The session was held June 2nd through June 7th at Kansas State University.

The student’s proposed executive order to repeal the 19th Amendment came in the final moments of operations during this year’s academy, according to spokesperson Brad Biles.

Biles said the student ignored staff recommendations to refrain from suggesting the executive order. When brought to the Boys State legislature it was voted down in the Senate and House of Representatives.

“I have faith in our staff to have acted as they were trained to do,” said Troy Fowler, Director of Operations for Kansas Boys State.

The student, Fowler said, “disregarded that authority but the system of checks and balances built into our governmental system worked as they were designed.”

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.

Jonathan Shorman covers Kansas politics and the Legislature for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. He’s been covering politics for six years, first in Missouri and now in Kansas. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

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