Local Boys Staters: ‘This is awesome’


Jonathan Elder is comfortable being called a "political junkie."
The Perrysburg teen stepped into the fast-paced political arena of American Legion Buckeye Boys State
Saturday as one of many peers from Wood County. He was chosen, along with twins Samuel and Timothy
Johnson of Weston Township, and Tyler Chamberlain of Risingsun, to follow this week by the
Sentinel-Tribune as they experience forming their own city, county and state governments.
"You can kind of call me a political junkie. I really got interested in junior high," said
Elder, who is sponsored by Perrysburg American Legion Post 28. "I stated following politics and
watching CNN, then moved on to Fox News. I honestly don’t know why people follow Hollywood when they can
follow Washington. … It’s very intriguing to me to see how government is run and the workings of
He was initiated into the election process last August following the Republican National Convention.
"I want to be part of this. This is awesome," he recalled thinking after the McCain-Palin
ticket was announced.
Elder went to the Perrysburg Victory Center, starting out in its phone bank, then did door-to-door
campaigning and ran the Republican booth with college students during Harrison Rally Days.
At Boys State he plans on taking the bar exam, becoming an attorney and then running for state attorney
general or associate justice of the Supreme Court.
He will be aided in that experience by being an Eagle Scout, junior assistant scout master and
participating in Explorer Post mock trial. Elder said scouting has prepared him with skills in
leadership, communication and organization as well as knowing teamwork.
Timothy and Samuel Johnson are also active in Boys Scouts, working on their Eagle Scout ranks. Timothy is
sponsored by Wood County Council and Samuel by Bradner American Legion Post 338.
They have the unusual distinction of being the third and fourth sons of Michael and Michelle Johnson to
attend Boys State, following older brothers Brian and Andrew. Having had brothers who already attended
has given the twins insight into the program they might not have had otherwise. They know Brian
"broke" the BBS lottery and Andrew liked being the mayor of his city. The twins also attended
some of the evening assemblies which are open to the public when their brothers were delegates.
Timothy, who is the oldest of the fraternal twins by eight minutes (they were premature by six weeks),
hopes to become a Boys State Highway Patrol officer, or county sheriff; just as long as it’s law
"I was thinking about it," he said of a future career in the field.
Samuel is going to go for being a county or city engineer. Though he is interested in animal science for
college, a nine-day career in engineering "seemed interesting. … I seem interested in a little
bit of carpentry."
The brothers have been assigned to different cities and will live in different dorms during their stay at
Tyler Chamberlain is also sponsored by Bradner’s Albert Bowe American Legion Post 338. A three-year
football, basketball and baseball athlete at Elmwood High School, he said he is excited to be chosen for
the experience. "One of my friends went. I heard it was a lot of fun, and that he had a great
After reading through the preparation materials, Chamberlain said he wants to do an accounting job at
Boys State. "I’m interested in that right now for college. I think that’ll help me."
He is also confident that being an athlete will help him during the program. "I think it helps me
because … I have a little knowledge of working with people as a team, so it won’t be a new idea going
in there."
Later this week a follow-up story will share the experiences of these four Wood County delegates at Boys

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