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Today is the first day of the week-long American Legion Boys State of Missouri program on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Approximately 1000 boys from across Missouri will participate this week. This is the fourth year we’ve been able to cover the session.

Missouri Boys State volunteer Matt Dameron (left) assists Boys State citizens with directions from the parking lot.

Why do we cover this? It’s about government and politics. Plus, Missouri Boys State always has an impressive list of speakers, including statewide office holders.

The keynote speakers this week:

FORMER MISSOURI GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN

Saturday, June 11, 2011 (6:45-8:20 PM)

Following Opening Night Ceremonies of the 72nd session of Missouri Boys State former Missouri Governer Bob Holden will deliver the keynote address at a special assembly in Hendricks Hall. Bob has been a long time friend of Missouri Boys State. He has volunteered with the program for 25 years and serves on the Board of Directors. Governor Holden is chairman of The Holden Group, LLC, where he advises public and private sector clients on business development and international trade strategies. He also serves as the vice chairman of the new Midwest U.S.-China Association where he works with all Midwestern governors to improve economic cooperation and stimulate business growth between the Midwestern states and China. Additionally, he leads the Governor Bob Holden Public Policy Forum @ Webster University. As a visiting professor, Governor Holden lectures on public policy and leadership throughout the worldwide Webster campus network. Governor Holden is also serving as a Dole Fellow at the Dole Institute on the campus of the University of Kansas. Following his prepared remarks, Governor Holden will hold a question and answer session.

KELLY M. KING, PRESIDENT – SOUTH CENTRAL REGION, AT&T

Sunday, June 12, 2011 (7:00-9:00 PM)

A native of Sullivan, Missouri, Kelly King attended Missouri Boys State in 1984. He later received his undergraduate degree in mechanical/aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master of business administration degree from St. Louis University. Kelly is active in a variety of business and civic organizations to include the serving as the charman of the board for the Institute fo communication, Technology Management at the University of southern California – Marshall School of Business, and is the co-chairman of the advisory committee for the Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement.  King also served on the board of directors for the Special Olympics of Southern California and the Boy Scouts of America. In 2010, he was named to the list of Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business by the Asian American Business Development Center.

MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE ROBIN CARNAHAN

Monday, June 13, 2011 (6:50-8:15 PM)

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan will deliver the keynote address at the special assembly on Monday evening. Secretary of State Carnahan has been a long time supporter of the Missouri Boys and Girls State programs. Robin Carnahan was sworn in as Missouri’s 38th Secretary of State in January 2005. Carnahan’s family has a proud history of devotion to public service. Her father, Mel Carnahan, served as Missouri’s Governor, and her mother, Jean Carnahan, was the first woman to serve Missouri in the U.S. Senate. Her grandfather, A.S.J. Carnahan, a congressman from south-central Missouri for 14 years, was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to be U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone.

FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND MISSOURI SENATOR JOHN C. DANFORTH

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 (6:50-8:30 PM)

John Danforth will accept the 23rd Annual George W. Lehr Memorial Speakers Chair on Tuesday night at Hendricks Hall. John is a native of St. Louis, MO, where he attended St. Louis Country Day School. He later received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1958, and attended both law and divinity graduate schools at Yale University. He served as the 37th Attorney General of Missouri from 1969-1976, United States Senator from Missouri from 1976-1995, and was appointed the 24th United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2004. As an ordained Episcopal priest, Danforth officiated the funeral services of former president Ronald Reagan. Following his prepared remarks Danforth will hold a question and answer session.

MISSOURI GOVERNOR JAY NIXON

Thursday, June 16, 2011 (7:00-9:15 PM)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will deliver the keynote address at a special assembly on Thursday evening in Hendricks Hall. Governor Nixon has been an outstanding supporter of the Boys State program throughout his years as Missouri’s Attorney General and Governor. We are very pleased to have him back to Boys State. The Governor will hold a question and answer session following his prepared remarks.

WHITE HOUSE FELLOW AND NAVY SEAL COMMANDER

ERIC GREITENS

Friday, June 17, 2011 (7:00-8:30 PM)

White House Fellow, Navy Seal Commander and Rhodes Scholar Eric Greitens will speak to MBS participants on Friday at Hendricks Hall. One of the most accomplished Boys Staters in recent memory, Greitens will share his extraordinary career with Boys Staters in a special assembly. Greitens returned from his last tour of duty in Iraq in 2007. As an award-winning humanitarian leader, Eric has traveled to many war and crisis torn countries to reveal not only the hardship of the people, but also their strength and compassion. Following his prepared remarks he will hold a question and answer session.

The lineup for the final part of registration.

The registration process for almost a thousand Boys State citizens has to be model of efficiency.