Anheluk attends Boys Nation
Shortly after Christian Anheluk returned from the national conference of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, he packed his bags once again and attended American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C., July 19-26.
He was one of two delegates chosen to represent North Dakota based on leadership skills, academic record and activities at the American Legion Boys State.
Anheluk was Belfield's delegate to Boys State at Wahpeton. He was sponsored by the Belfield American Legion Post No. 144.
Post commander Bill Haverluk described Aneluk as a knowledgeable student who is not afraid to speak to anyone.
"He seems to be our next politician for this area -- we need somebody like him," Haverluk said.
While there, Anheluk ran for governor but lost to a candidate from Grand Forks. He went on to be elected to the House of Representatives and became speaker of the House.
Anheluk wasn't aware of the opportunity to attend Boys Nation until the graduation ceremony.
"They made an announcement that two delegates get to attend Boys Nation," he said. "They said my name and I was blown away. I had not anticipated it at all."
He described Boys State and Boys Nation as government simulations.
"Really, it's like living their job -- it gave politics a new perspective," he said.
Boys Nation introduced students to the structure of the federal government, while combining lectures and visits to federal agencies and historic spots around Washington, D.C.
The delegates organized party conventions, debated bills and elected a Boys Nation president and vice president. Each delegated represented their home state as a senator. The senators caucused at the beginning of the session and organized into committees.
Anheluk learned that Boys Nation was a close simulation of today's government.
"I didn't anticipate that even the gridlock would be the same," he said. Out of 100 bills submitted, we passed nine bills and even fewer were signed by the president.
Anheluk submitted a bill related to the privatization of Social Security. It did not make it out of committee.
"There were a lot of democrats there," he noted.
Anheluk served on the government operations committee. During the general assemby, he also spoke about gun rights -- a topic of heated debate.
Anheluk was assigned to the Federalist Party. It's candidate -- a conservative from Minnesota -- won the election as president.
"I came back with a greater knowledge of the process in general," he said.
"I have a greater appreciation for the other side. It's hard to take in other people's ideas, especially if they are so opposite your ideas."
One of his Boys Nation highlights was to meet President Barack Obama as well as Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heikamp.
Looking ahead to next year, Anheluk may enroll at North Dakota State University. His career goals are uncertain.
"My one desire is to have a family, so I see myself in any field as a means to support a family," he said. "I'm more into public speaking or public service. If I end up anywhere, it's probably public service."