SIC’s Model Illinois Government Team Named Finalist at State Competition
Southeastern Illinois College’s Model Illinois Government (MIG) team was named a finalist for Outstanding Small Delegation at the recent state collegiate legislative competition in Springfield —the highest honor bestowed on a delegation of 10 or fewer.
MIG is a legislative simulation and moot court with students filling roles as legislator, lobbyist, journalist, attorney, judge and party positions of committee and leadership. This year 204 students from 15 colleges and universities participated.
Southeastern Illinois College led all small delegations in total points, leadership positions, and major awards (three) while also outscoring the small delegation winner by two points. MIG rules prohibit any team from winning consecutive Best Delegation Awards, and SIC’s team won the best small delegation award in 2012. SIC’s team, led by advisor and political science instructor, Matt Lees, has won the Outstanding Delegation award six out of the last 10 years.
“This group of students is one of the hardest working I’ve ever had the pleasure to instruct. I can honestly say that everyone from top to bottom contributed to this win,” said Lees.
The delegation secured three committee whip positions and one floor whip position, the Senate and House Minority Leaders, and awards for Outstanding Member of the Senate, Outstanding House Committee Member, and Outstanding Journalist. The delegation was also a finalist for the Best Original Legislation, and Outstanding Lobbyist awards.
First-year delegates included Angela Curry of Harrisburg, Laura Grace of Eldorado, and Jennifer Pruitt of McLeansboro.
Returning delegates included Katie Clayton, Valerie Ozment, and Cassie Rea all of Harrisburg, Joe Debose of Eldorado, and Caleb Motsinger of Carrier Mills.
Delegates securing committee whip positions included Curry, Clayton, and Pruitt. Angela Curry was also elected to a floor whip position. In acquiring two positions Curry acquired two composite points leading SIC in individual points.
Joe Debose and Valerie Ozment were elected as Minority Leaders in their respective chambers (Ozment in the House and Debose in the Senate.) This is the first time SIC has secured two central floor leadership roles in the same simulation. Joe Debose later won the Jean Humphrey Award for Outstanding Member of the Senate while Ozment was a finalist for the Donna Lennon Award for Outstanding Member of the House.
“Both students are among the most passionate debaters I have ever instructed,” said Lees. “They clearly have tremendous natural ability.”
First year delegate, Jennifer Pruitt, crafted her own original legislation, and successfully guided it from committee all the way to the Governor’s desk where it was signed into law. The bill she wrote dealt with the establishment of a rural transit district, a subject with special significance to her, as Pruitt is legally blind and unable to drive.
“Delegates were genuinely touched by her story. Some students were so impacted that they plan on lobbying their legislators in support of Jennifer’s proposed reforms. She has a great deal to be proud of,” said Lees.
Pruitt later won the Michaella Grounds Award for Outstanding House Committee Member. The award was recently renamed in memory of former SIC delegate Michaella Grounds.
“As a first year delegate, I was absolutely amazed beyond words,” said Pruitt. I am so glad to have been able to experience such an amazing learning opportunity.”
Another first year delegate, Laura Grace, played the role of lobbyist, crafted her own legislation, and helped to pass Pruitt’s bill, as well. Grace was a finalist for the Outstanding Lobbyist Award.
“Going into the simulation, I really was unsure what to expect. I finally relaxed and allowed all the months of preparation to guide me,” said Grace.
Caleb Motsinger played the role of a journalist and filed numerous stories for the MIG Journal. He was later named Outstanding Journalist for his efforts, giving SIC its third major award.
Motsinger said, “Winning this award really helped to boost my confidence.”
Head delegate Cassie Rea led this group of veterans.
“Throughout the semester Cassie gained the respect of everyone on our team,” said Lees. “This result can be directly attributed to Cassie.”