Forget playing video games or watching sports on television. The newly-elected governor of American
Legion Buckeye Boys State spends his time – on a weekly basis – watching famous political speeches or
reading them.
Marquise Lovejoy, 16, of Columbus, was elected governor during Monday’s general election. He and his
lieutenant governor running mate, Kennith Dukes, 17, of Newton Falls, won the election in a landslide
victory with 853 votes, out of about 1,100 possible votes. Their opponents were the Federalist Party
candidates, Nicholas Miller and Robert Winkelman.
An incoming senior at Beechcroft High School, Lovejoy partially credited his win to his unusual hobby.
"One thing I love is to read speeches. I love to watch TV of speeches," he explained following
the election. "One speech I try to listen to every week is the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. I learn
something from it every time. That’s what makes a great speech. I do it for John F. Kennedy and my
favorite president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt."
Lovejoy said FDR is his favorite president because "he was handicapped; he had a lot against him; he
had a lot of boundaries he had to overcome to get where he was. Even though he was rich, he could feel
for the poor and communicate to all people." His favorite FDR speech is when he asked Congress to
declare a state of war.
Lovejoy made the decision to run for governor before arriving on Saturday. In his campaign before the
primary Lovejoy used a quote from John Quincy Adams to set himself apart from the other 13 sets of
Nationalist Party candidates, then used Howard Dean’s speech method during the Monday debate in front of
the entire BBS population.
Though Lovejoy said the campaign process was very stressful, and he was exhausted, he looked forward to
being governor. "I’m in the hands of great mentors. With the help of the lieutenant governor and
chief of staff, I believe we can make it one of the greatest Boys States. … I’m looking for work and
more work. It’s one thing I’m honestly looking forward to."
Jonathan Elder of Perrysburg, sponsored by Perrysburg Legion Post 28, was elected as one of the six
associate justices to the Buckeye Boys State Supreme Court, among the top 16 state-elected positions. It
had been his plan to run for the post before attending the program.
During Monday’s primary Elder was the second highest vote getter among the candidates running for the
same position in the Federalist Party. During the general election, among the 12 candidates running,
Elder won one of the six seats with 518 of the total votes cast.
In a telephone interview, Elder said he made the right decision not to make posters to get his name out,
as most other delegates do. Instead, he used his BBS money to purchase paper and hand wrote 90 leaflets
with his name and slogan which he and friends distributed while he was campaigning face-to-face.
Today and Wednesday the high court will listen to mock trials to get their complete certification, then
spend the rest of the week listening to cases coming from the municipal, common pleas and appeals
courts. "We have a busy week ahead of us," Elder stated.
Tyler Carson of rural Bowling Green, sponsored by Tontogany Legion Post 441, won his party’s primary for
attorney general and was one of the teens participating in the debate assembly. The two questions posed
to him dealt with eliminating the death penalty in Ohio and whether or not the state should legalize
same-sex marriages. While his opponent did not take a position on the latter question, but said it was
up to the other delegates to choose, Carson stated his opinion that gay couples should be given the same
civil rights as other married couples.
"I talked to people afterwards," he said in a phone interview. "They appreciated I took a
stand. Maybe it didn’t pay off in the end. … It’s hard to say. Did I lose votes? … I’m sure I lost
some votes because of it. Hopefully I gained more taking a stand."
Carson lost the general election by only 50 votes. Afterwards he was appointed as associate state
superintendent (of education) in charge of legislative and financial matters.
Two other delegates from Perrysburg ran primary campaigns for state offices; Daniel Mettert, judge in the
Court of Appeals, and Colin Bilski, treasurer of state.