The 3 Jersey Statesmen
When Senator Cory Booker was sworn in to the United States Senate, the leadership at the top of the state of New Jersey began to look like an alumni gathering for the American Legion Jersey Boys State. Governor Chris Christie (R), and Senators Menendez (D) and Booker (D) all attended Jersey Boys State while they were in high school.
Maybe the fact that all three of these men attended ALJBS and are now the three most prominent New Jersey politicians is just a coincidence. Or maybe it was the late-night speechwriting, the campaign planning, or perhaps it was gaining confidence to go outside one's comfort zone and learning how to work with new people at ALJBS. We'll never know the motivations, skills, or tools that allow our three Jersey Statesmen to be where they are today, but we're confident that the week each of them spent at our program played a formative role in their development.
Since the time that Sen. Booker, Gov. Christie, and Sen. Menendez attended ALJBS, each has returned on several occasions to address the delegation. Most recently, Sen. Booker, then Mayor of Newark and U.S. Senatorial candidate, spoke at our graduation ceremony in June 2013. "This was one of the most amazing experiences," said Booker. "It still lifts me today."
This is a track record that makes us proud and constantly drives us to make the program better. Each year we create, plan, and develop new ways to educate, train, and inspire the next crop of Jersey's young leaders. Since 1946, approximately 56,000 delegates have attended our program. In June, nearly 1,000 more young leaders will attend Jersey Boys State and we will again be reminded of the great potential each delegation holds.
Even though Jersey Boys State is just one week long, it's a week that shapes the future. Just ask Sen. Booker, Gov. Christie, or Sen. Menendez.