State Rep. Jeramey D. Anderson is living proof that today's Boys State delegates can be tomorrow's leaders.
"I sat where you're sitting five years ago, and today, I am a legislator," the Moss Point native said when speaking Wednesday [May 28] to more than 380 Boys State delegates at Mississippi State's historic Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall.
The 2009 Mississippi Boys State lieutenant governor became the youngest person elected to the state House of Representatives when he was sworn into office at the age of 22. He also is the youngest African-American ever elected to Legislature in United States history.
"With a lot of ambition also comes a lot of responsibility," said Anderson, who aspires to one day be sworn in as President of the United States of America.
As state representative for Moss Point and Pascagoula, Anderson serves on several committees, including the Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, Marine Resources, S.C. Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency, and Youth and Family Affairs committees.
Currently a senior at Tulane University's Gulf Coast campus in Biloxi studying homeland security and public relations, Anderson received his associate degree in criminal justice from Pearl River Community College.
"Being here at Boys State, you meet so many good people and have great advisors. You make so many good connections. You never know the amount of influence you'll have on your colleagues here today, so take that to heart. Boys State is something that I hold dear to my heart," said the Moss Point High School graduate.
Anderson also commended those delegates who ran for office.
"Running for office--here at Boys State and in the state of Mississippi--is a challenge within itself," Anderson said. "To be a leader, it takes a certain individual. Not everybody can do what a leader is responsible for doing. However, everybody is able to lend a hand to make a difference."
An important lesson Anderson said he learned while a Boys State participant is that, "Leadership is not about the person that's in charge. It's about the people that are following along and traveling the road with that leader.
"A lot of times as leaders, we forget how to follow. Now more than ever, I see that you have to understand how to follow somebody before you lead somebody," he added.
Planning is crucial to success, Anderson emphasized.
"You need to understand where you're going before you actually try and get there," he said. "Map out a plan. Determine where you want to be in the next two, five, and 10 years, so if an opportunity becomes available, you're able to grab it."
"I hope you all enjoy your Boys State experience this year, and I hope you will continue to come back, volunteer your time and inspire young people like yourselves to come to Boys State as well," Anderson said.
Mississippi State University was selected in 2013 as the host campus through 2015 for Mississippi's American Legion Boys State. Boys State is regarded as the nation's premier program for teaching how government works, developing leadership skills and nurturing an appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
More about Boys State is available at www.msboysstate.com.
MS Boys State also is on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mississippi-American-Legion-Boys-State/125360164145801 and Twitter @MS_Boysstate.
See www.msstate.edu to learn more about MSU.