The MIG Journal: April 2019 Edition
New this year, the Model Illinois Government Journal will be publishing an edition once a month in order to allow delegates to stay connected to all things MIG. We hope that you'll read and follow along this year as we get ready for what is sure to be the best MIG simulation yet!
APRIL 2019 EDITION - Vol. 41 Issue 1
New Executive Board Takes Their Positions
By Tim Kirsininkas, Press Secretary
The new 2019-2020 Model Illinois Government Executive Board took their positions officially on April 14 in their first meeting at Lincoln Land Community College. The meeting began with a brief few pieces of business from outgoing Governor Lizzie Roehrs before the gavel was officially passed to this year's new Governor, Sabrina LeBlanc (Millikin). Governor LeBlanc expressed her excitement to get to work in leading the organization. She brings a fresh perspective to the position of Governor, having served three years as a Lobbyist, one year as Head Lobbyist, and as the 2019 simulation's Lieutenant Governor. Her alternate role experience is sure to bring a unique and fresh perspective to Model Illinois Government.
From there, the meeting moved down the line as each new member of the Board explained their plans and expectations for the next year of MIG. You can view the entire E-Board and contact them by visiting www.modelilgov.org/eboard.
Meet Your 2019 Attorney General and MIG Journal Staff
A Message from Attorney General Paige Leonard:
Welcome to the Model Illinois Government Journal. I am your Attorney General for the 2020 simulation, Paige Leonard. I am a senior at Northern Illinois University studying English where eventually I plan to become a high school English teacher. In addition, I am also getting a minor in Political Science. This year’s Model Illinois Government simulation will be my fifth year at MIG. My first year I was a delegate with no leadership role learning the ropes and how everything worked. From there, I was a House Republican whip twice and then the Attorney General’s Chief of Staff this past simulation. Through MIG, I met some of my closest friends and will always be grateful for the experiences I have gained. I never thought I would run for a position like this, but I look forward to being on the Executive Board- we have a lot of great ideas for simulation and it is going to be a great year!
As Attorney General, I am in charge of three aspects of MIG- The Journal (and journalists), Original Legislation (OL), and interpreting the Constitution. In previous years, the MIG journal has only been active during simulation, but I want to change that so I will be keeping it active all year leading up to simulation through regular articles being released at the end of every month. To begin, the first few articles will introduce all of the board members. Secondly, each article will also provide a summary of the previous month’s e-board meeting, so don’t worry if you cannot attend the meetings, but want to know what is going on! One thing I want to introduce is a Q&A portion every month where all of our delegates can have the opportunity to ask questions they may have. These questions can be about anything pertaining to simulation or they can be questions for specific board members if you’re curious about what that position entails. Send us a question and either myself or my staff members will get an answer for you. Your questions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be left anonymous.
An alternate role at MIG is a journalist. I know the last two simulations lacked journalists and the previous Attorney General, Tim Kirsininkas, had to use two of his staff members as journalists, so they were not able to do their jobs as staffers. I do not want that to happen again this year, therefore I will be pushing to recruit more people to participate in these roles! For example, I will be reaching out to journalism professors at our member schools to see if anyone from their department would be interested in writing about politics in the future due to MIG being great practice and experience for them. My goal is to have at least 10 journalists because then I can assign one to each committee in the House and Senate at simulation. Ideally, I would like to have about 15 so I can have some cover Moot Court and some can keep up with e board members throughout the weekend.
Besides the journal, I also plan to put a heavy focus on original legislation. I will be updating the handbook on how to write and submit an OL. I also plan to join Lieutenant Governor Layla Werner on her visits to new schools to explain original legislation to the delegates from that school as well as Governor Sabrina LeBlanc on her visits to returning delegations to assist any of their delegates with the process. I am also willing to Skype/Facetime any schools that need more assistance as simulation gets closer and host a workshop, so please email me if that is something your school would be interested in! Once OL’s are submitted, I will be reading each one thoroughly to ensure it is formatted correctly, as that is something previous Attorney Generals have failed to do. My Legislative Liaison, Abisoye Ariwoola, will then also check formatting for me in case I miss anything, and she will make sure they get placed into the correct committee in either the House or Senate. I also want to work with Speaker of the House Kallie Matthews and President of the Senate Isaiah Moore to guarantee OL’s are a priority in both chambers and are getting debated on the floor in each chamber. My Deputy Attorney General Kelly Kupris and Solicitor General Kim Wolf will each be in charge of one chamber also coordinating with the chamber heads to get those OL’s pushed through.
I look forward to keeping up with the journal and OL’s to make Model Illinois Government 2020 a fantastic one!
Finally, as I stated, I am also the person in charge of interpreting the MIG Constitution. I urge all new and returning delegates to read through the Constitution before simulation. There is some important information in it! It can be found on the MIG website (modelilgov.org/govdocs). I look forward to upholding this document, as it is imperative to running a successful simulation.
That’s enough about me- let’s meet my staff!
Chief of Staff: Alex Rader
Hey everyone! My name is Alex Rader and I am currently the Chief of Staff for the Attorney General, Paige Leonard, for the 2019-2020 Model Illinois Government simulation. This year marks my 5th year as a part of MIG. My first year I served as a House Republican representing Elgin Community College in their very first year at MIG where it would jump start my love for government. I would eventually transfer to Northern Illinois University and continue my involvement in MIG there, where I became the club president. At NIU, I was a House Republican for 2 years and this past year I served on the Attorney General's Staff as his Legislative Liaison. This organization means the world to me; it has allowed me to create strong friendships with people I would have otherwise never met. MIG allows you to open up about your political beliefs in a time where people are shamed for what they believe, but that’s not all that it does. It teaches you how to overcome your fear of public speaking and to step out of your comfort zone. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in MIG again this year and I hope that it is the best year yet!
Legislative Liaison: Abisoye Ariwoola
Hello, my name is Abisoye Ariwoola and I am the Legislative Lesion for the Attorney General of the 2020 Model Illinois Government (MIG) Simulation. I am currently studying Political Science with a minor in History at the University of Illinois Springfield. After I graduate in December 2019, I intend to go to Law School in order to pursue Corporate Law. As a Political Science student, I understand the gravity and importance of politics and our political climate. Due to this, I have been a member of MIG since my Sophomore year of college and can confidently say that MIG has made me a more focused, creative, and confident individual. While my first year MIG Simulation was extremely intimidating and tiring, I began to understand so much about myself as a student, and overall person. I have learned how to craft and purposely execute a speech in 30 seconds and under. Additionally, I have been able to break out of my comfort zone by speaking to many people and relating to every single one of them on several different levels. It is for these reasons that I have grown to love and appreciate MIG. As Legislative Lesion, I vow to make sure everyone’s experience at Simulation is as great as mine. Thank you and I can’t wait to meet everyone at Simulation!
Deputy Attorney General: Kelly Kupris
Hello all! My name is Kelly Kupris, and I am currently a senior in college at Arizona State University online working on my BS in Political Science, and plan to go to UIS Law School in Spring of 2020. The 2020 Model Illinois Government will be my third year at MIG, and my second working under the Attorney General as Deputy Attorney General. The MIG experience is unlike any other, and one of my favorite parts about it is getting to experience the function and inner-workings of actual government. However, the best part is making friends with intelligent, fun loving, unique, multi-viewed students from across the state that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. This year’s Attorney General Staff is comprised of some of my closest MIG friends, as well as the Executive Board, and I think it’s going to be a year that is close to perfection. I’m excited to meet all of you at the 2020 simulation and look forward to fiery debates!
Solicitor General: Kim Wolf
Hello members of Model Illinois Government (MIG), past, present, or future!
My name is Kim Wolf, and I am excited to announce that I will be on the staff of your Attorney General, Paige Leonard. I will be returning in my position as Solicitor General as I was previously working under Tim Kirsininkas. Both are amazing assets to MIG and have helped me immensely throughout my journey as staff. My job entails the cooperation and communication between the Attorney General, other members of her staff, and the journalists for the presentation of the MIG journal. Our goal ultimately is to make the journal the best it can be, and by that, delegates will be able to be as up-to-date as possible not only during sim, but before and after.
In my personal life, I am a social work undergraduate student at Aurora University specializing in addictions counseling. I am currently an intern at a treatment facility, and I co-facilitate groups of adults either with a substance use disorder, with legal issues, or both. In addition, I aid in case management duties as well. I will be getting my degree in early May and then will begin my summer classes to further my education with a Masters of Social Work degree focused on school social work. My goal is to use my knowledge pertaining to substance use to sit for my CADC and then apply that in order to work with children within a school setting to then set children on a better path by working with teachers and faculty to advocate for those whom are in need of additional resources and accommodations.
My love for social justice, dignity and self-worth of people, and advocating for individuals drives my love for MIG even more. While other cohorts of mine absolutely despise public policy, I find it extremely necessary to be knowledgeable about how legislation is going to affect community members just like you and me.
I am eager to work with all of Paige’s staff as they are more than competent to fulfill their duties and make the MIG journal – and experience – as remarkable as it can be.
Editor in Chief: Kyle Bergfors
My interest in politics began through my passion and fascination with history. After taking an international relations course my senior year of high school, I saw how history can be applied to the field of government and politics sparking interest in this field of study continuing this passion into his undergraduate studies as a political science major and then, after participating in my second year of Model Illinois Government, realized how vital and important communications in its various forms is resulting in my decision to continue my education onto graduate school under the Communications, Media, and Performance program. At the same time, I also have both a personal and professional interest in the media field, specifically creating & managing content, photojournalism, and journalism. Due to this, I became involved, on my own time, with New Noise Magazine and, in the past, MNSTRM Media and Speed of Sound Magazine covering a wide range of artists from Judas Priest to AWOLNATION to Wiz Khalifa to 5 Seconds of Summer while also documenting and being involved in underground music, specifically metal/punk/hardcore. In addition, I am the associate editor at the Governors State University school newspaper, The Phoenix. Lastly, I strongly believes involvement in Model Illinois Government can be a life-changing experience and one of the most important educational opportunities one can participate in during their college years. Due to this, I co-founded the Political Science Club at Governors State University, along with current President of the Senate Isaiah Moore, to better promote Model Illinois Government on campus and assist in recruitment resulting in the largest delegation from Governors State University.
This will be my third year of involvement in Model Illinois Government and as the editor-in-chief for the Model Illinois Government Journal and working in the Attorney General’s office assisting with last year’s efforts to improve upon the journalism component of simulation re-organizing, re-modeling, and completely overhauling the journalism feature of MIG resulting in a journal similar to professional publications and newspapers. I am hoping to continue the success of last year across the entire year by assisting the current Attorney General with producing and managing content to be released throughout the year engaging readers year-round rather than just at simulation and further improving upon the simulation experience for journalists while learning more about the Attorney General position.
Press Secretary: Tim Kirsininkas
My name is Tim Kirsininkas, your Press Secretary for the 2019-2020 MIG year. This will be my sixth year participating in MIG, but my first time in a staff role. Before joining Attorney General Leonard's staff, I served as a House delegate with Elgin Community College in 2015, President of NIU's delegation in 2016 and 2017, MIG Lieutenant Governor in 2018, and lastly MIG Attorney General in 2019. I recently received my degree in Communications with minors in Journalism and Political Science, so I was happy to bring that much-needed perspective of a media-centered student to the MIG Journal last year and give it the attention it needed to once again become a fun core and central part of MIG. I am looking forward to building on the continued success of last year's MIG Journal in this new advisory role and working with my main man, Editor-in-Chief Kyle Bergfors, my close friend (and my rockstar Chief of Staff last year) Attorney General Paige Leonard, and the rest of the outstanding AG staff and Executive Board. We have an ambitious plan to make this year's journal the best yet, and for the first time are planning year-round articles to give you the inside scoop and keep you in the know with all things MIG! So stay tuned...