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"I did not know what to expect when I walked in, but when I walked out, I ended up making many new friends. At first, I thought that "A Week to Shape a Lifetime" was just a catchy slogan, but it ended up being exactly what it said it was."

-- Colin Landers Darnell '12
Rolla, MO

2021 Keynote Speakers

Below are our speakers for the 2021 Session.

John C. (Jack ) Danforth

 

John C. (Jack ) Danforth
Saturday, June 12, 2021

Former United States Senator from Missouri Jack Danforth was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Danforth attended Princeton University, Yale Law School, and Yale Divinity School before serving as the 37th Attorney General of Missouri from 1968 to 1976. Danforth then served as a United States Senator from Missouri from 1976 to 1995 and as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2004 to 2005. Today, Sen. Danforth continues to work in the St. Louis community as a partner at the law firm Dowd Bennett. He serves on numerous boards including the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Sen. Danforth is also an ordained Episcopal priest and has authored numerous books on the topics of religion and American politics.

Senator Danforth will open the 2021 Missouri Boys State session with a candid discussion on the lessons he has leaned over his exemplary career in public service, the current state of our politics, and the advice he has for the next generation of leaders.


 

     

Tishaura Jones

 

Tishaura Jones
Sunday, June 13, 2021

Tishaura Jones was sworn-in as the 47th mayor of St. Louis on April 20, 2021, becoming the first African American female to serve in that post. Mayor Jones attended Hampton University, the St. Louis University School of Public Health, and the Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She began her political career in 2002 when she was appointed as the Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward of St. Louis. She then served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and was the first African American woman in Missouri history to serve as Assistant Minority Floor Leader. Jones then served as the Treasurer of St. Louis before running for and winning the 2021 mayoral election.

Mayor Jones will deliver the keynote address on Sunday evening where she will share her story as a trailblazer in Missouri government and, following her address, will swear in the newly elected Mayors from each of the 18 Missouri Boys State cities.

     

Howard Richards

 

Howard Richards
Monday, June 14, 2021

Former NFL player Howard Richards was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Richards studied and played football at the University of Missouri. Richards started four games as a true freshman and played 40 consecutive games as right tackle. In 1981, Richards was chosen 26th overall in the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Richards played for both the Dallas Cowboys and then for the Seattle Seahawks before retiring in 1987. After retiring from the NFL, Richards served for 13 years in the Central Intelligence Agency as security staff, including a tour of duty in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2008, Richards founded his own security consulting business, SevenZero, Ltd. He has also worked as the Mizzou Tigers radio football analyst.

Mr. Richards will sit down with the Missouri Boys State citizens on Monday night to talk with our citizens about life in college sports and the NFL and the transition to public service after a career in sports.

     

Missouri Court of Appeals

 

Missouri Court of Appeals
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri Court of Appeals will hold a special session to hear oral argument on an actual case pending before the Court. The case will be heard by a three-judge panel, include Judge Gary Witt, Judge W. Douglas Thomson, and Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer, who will sit on the Court of Appeals by special designation and preside over the argument.

 

Following the court’s proceedings, Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer will swear in the newly selected members of the MBS Supreme Court.

 

     

Julian Castro

 

Julian Castro
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Julian Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas. Castro attended both Stanford University and Harvard Law School with his twin brother, Joaquin. In 2001, Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council at age 26 - making him the youngest councilman in the city’s history. He then went on to run for and win the 2009 mayoral election and reelections in 2011 and 2013. Then in 2014, he was appointed by President Obama as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro ran for the democratic party nomination for president from January 2019 to January 2020. Castro has won numerous honors including being named one of Time Magazine’s “40 under 40” rising stars in American politics.                                                                                                    

On Tuesday evening, Secretary Castro will accept the 32nd Annual George W. Lehr Memorial Speaker chair and deliver a keynote address to the citizens of Missouri Boys State.

     

Jay Ashcroft

 

Jay Ashcroft
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was born in Jefferson City, Missouri. Ashcroft earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering management from Missouri University of Science and Technology. In 2000, Ashcroft moved to St. Louis and taught engineering technology courses at the Saint Louis Community College. While teaching, Ashcroft attended the St. Louis University School of Law and went on to practice for eight years in St. Louis County. Ashcroft ran for and was elected Missouri’s 40th Secretary of State in 2016. He has since visited every one of Missouri’s 114 counties to meet with election officials, library executives, and business owners to learn how he can improve elections.

Secretary Ashcroft will visit Missouri Boys State on Thursday afternoon to deliver a keynote address and certify and announce the results of the MBS statewide election.

 

     

Mike Parson

 

Mike Parson
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Missouri Governor Mike Parson was born in Wheatland, Missouri and was raised on a farm in Hickory County. Parson served two tours in the Military Police Corps before returning to Hickory County to serve as a sheriff’s deputy. He was then elected sheriff and served the county until 2004 when he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, winning reelection in both 2006 and 2008, and in 2010 he was elected to the Missouri State Senate. In the Senate, Parson served as the majority whip during the 96th General Assembly and won reelection in 2014. In 2016, Parsons ran for and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and was then sworn in as Missouri Governor in 2018. Governor Parson won reelection in 2020. Governor Parson is also a small business owner and a third-generation farmer who currently owns and operates a cow and calf operation near his hometown of Bolivar.                                                                                      

Governor Parson will deliver the keynote address on Thursday evening at a joint session of the Missouri Boys State General Assembly. Thereafter, Governor Parson will administer the oath of office to the newly elected Missouri Boys State Governor.

 

     

Herb Kohn

 

Herb Kohn
Friday, June 18, 2021

Herb Kohn is currently Senior Counsel at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Law Firm in Kansas City, MO. He earned his undergraduate and juris doctorate degrees at the University of Michigan. Kohn practices corporate, business and banking law, concentrating in the areas of acquisitions, financial transactions, banking, and public finance. He is a former member of the firm's Executive Committee. He has served on numerous public and charitable boards, including on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Kansas City Art Institute, and has served as a member of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Finance Committee of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Kohn attended Missouri Boys State in 1955 where he was elected MBS Lt. Governor. As a former Director and Dean of Counselors for Missouri Boys State, Kohn was instrumental in creation and development of the A. B. Weyer Memorial Trust (now The Missouri Boys State Memorial Trust). He is a lifetime member of the Executive Committee of the MBS Board of Directors and was inducted into the MBS Hall of Fame in 1988.

Mr. Kohn will sit down with the citizens of Missouri Boys State on the program’s final evening. He will share the harrowing story of his family’s escape from Nazi Germany when he was just a boy, his experience emigrating to the United States, and his lifelong commitment to our democracy as a private citizen.  

     

 

 

 
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