Herseth Sandlin addresses Girls State By David Lias
Plain Talk Itâ�?�?s been 20 years since Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was a delegate to Girls State. Monday evening, she stood on the stage of Slagle Auditorium on The University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion, and helped to formally launch the beginning of this yearâ�?�?s session of the citizenship program. â�?�?Iâ�?�?m thrilled to be here on this first day of Girls State 2008,â�? she said. â�?�?I look back on my experience in Girls State as one of the most influential experiences in my life. It not only capped off my high school years; it also helped cultivate further my interest in public policy and government.â�? Herseth Sandlin stressed that the future of South Dakota will someday depend on each of the Girls State delegates in attendance Monday night. â�?�?I know from personal experience that the decision to get involved in your community, your government and your world is a tough decision to make,â�? she said. Herseth Sandln told the Girl Staters that she became involved in government because she wanted to make a positive impact on South Dakota and on the nation. â�?�?I believe to my core that improving peopleâ�?�?s lives and making a difference is what good government is all about,â�? she said. â�?�?And Iâ�?�?m sure that my background is similar to many of yours. I grew up on a farm outside of a small town and I went to high school in another small town.â�? Herseth Sandlin shared with her audience many of the valuable lessons sheâ�?�?s learned during her life as a public servant. â�?�?I believe in the significance of committing yourself to the causes you care about in order to improve yourself, your community, and the world around you,â�? she said. â�?�?But as we make this commitment, donâ�?�?t be mistaken. It is a choice to want a better, more fulfilling, happier quality of life, and to want more out of life â�?�?â�?�? thatâ�?�?s a conscious decision. And only if you make that decision can you start down the path to achieve, to succeed and to shine.â�? Herseth Sandlin said those who commit to the things they care about are the ones who can make a difference. She told the Girls State delegates that they have already proven in their schools and community that they have such potential, othewise, they wouldnâ�?�?t have been selected to journey to Vermillion. â�?�?Looking ahead to your senior year, you literally have limited options,â�? she told the girls. â�?�?And you also are armed with new ideas and a willingness to listen to not only those who agree with you, but those who disagree with you as well.â�? Every individual participating in Girls State is powerful, Herseth Sandlin said, but together, the girls are a force that is greater than the sum of its parts. â�?�?We must look after others because if we truly want to succeed in this world, then we must work to help each other succeed,â�? she said. â�?�?We should coalesce around areas of agreement, and move forward with concrete action. â�?�?Action is always better than inaction,â�? Herseth Sandlin said. â�?�?If youâ�?�?re prepared and you have the support of the people around you, then do something. Take action, try, even if you make a bad decision, youâ�?�?re going to learn and progress. And if you donâ�?�?t succeed the first time, you need to pick yourself and try and try again.â�? She told the delegates to be leaders by taking risks, and to appreciate the journey they are about to take this week. â�?�?No matter what you are trying to do, pay attention to that process of trying to get to where you are going — both the good paths and the unpleasant ones,â�? Herseth Sandlin said. â�?�?How and why you do something is often more important than what the final result may be, and if you can appreciate the journey, youâ�?�?re going to learn from it, youâ�?�?re going to repeat it and youâ�?�?re going to teach it somebody else.â�?