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"Through this extraordinary program I have grown in leadership, character, and confidence. I met various young men from different backgrounds and they have taught me that it's ok to be different and excel to your highest level."

-- Dillon Edward Bittiker '09
Perryville, MO

Press Release

May 1, 2005

For more Information Contact:
Contact Missouri Boys State


Paul Begala(WARRENSBURG, MO) – CNN Political Commentator Paul Begala will accept the 17th Annual George W. Lehr Memorial Speakers Chair and deliver the keynote address at the general assembly of the 66th session of The American Legion Boys State of Missouri, Inc. on Sunday evening, June 12th at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.

Begala will address nearly 1,000 of Missouri’s finest high school leaders who are participating in a week-long citizenship and leadership training program sponsored by the Missouri American Legion.

Begala first entered the national political scene after his consulting firm, Carville & Begala, helped elect President Bill Clinton in 1992. Serving in the Clinton administration as counselor to the president, he helped define and defend the administration's agenda and served as the principal public spokesman. Today he is co-host of Crossfire, CNN's political debate program. Begala and co-host James Carville provide insight and commentary "from the left," as they square off against conservatives Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson. Crossfire's co-hosts debate the hottest issues of the day with the nation's top newsmakers and political figures. Begala’s speech will focus on his experiences in public life and his views as a Washington-insider. Participants will also hear Begala’s assessment of politics in America today and his impressions of our current political leaders. He will take questions from the Boys State participants following his prepared remarks.

The George W. Lehr Memorial Speakers Chair was established in 1988 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Missouri Boys State program. The Lehr Chair was created to honor the late Missouri State Auditor George W. Lehr, who was a Boys State participant in his youth and a tireless supporter of Missouri Boys State during his public life. The Lehr Chair was designed to assist the Boys State program in bringing the finest names in public service to the yearly Boys State session to interact with its participants.

The American Legion Boys State of Missouri will be held on the campus of Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, MO beginning on Saturday, June 11 and concluding on June 18, 2005. The participants must have completed their junior year in high school and must have distinguished themselves as leaders in their high school and community.

Other speakers scheduled to participate during the week-long program are Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, Federal Judge Duane Benton and Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden.

George W. Lehr Memorial Speakers Chair

2005 Paul Begala
CNN Political Commentator and Author

2004 J.C. Watts
Former U.S. Representative and College Football Star
[press release]

2003 Mike Peters
Syndicated Political Cartoonist and Creator of Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip.
[press release]

2002 Bill Bradley
Former Presidential Candidate and Former U.S. Senator
[press release]

2001 William S. Cohen
Former Secretary of Defense
[press release]

2000 Lisa Myers
National Correspondent for NBC News - Washington

1999 Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver
Minister and Former Mayor of Kansas City

1998 David R. Gergen
Former U.S. Presidential Advisor

1997 William J. Perry
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

1996 Lamar Alexander
Former Presidential Candidate and Former U.S. Secretary of Education

1995 Dr. Robert M. Gates
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

1994 Paul E. Tsongas
Former Presidential Candidate and Senator from Massachusetts

1993 Edward D. “Chip” Robertson
Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice

1992 Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond
Former MO Attorney General, Governor and current senior U.S. Senator

1991 Thomas DeFrank
Author and White House Correspondent for Newsweek Magazine

1990 Robert F. Hyland
Corporate Vice-President CBS Radio, St. Louis

1989 William Proxmire
Former U. S. Senator from Wisconsin


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