Cooper Brooks, who will be a senior this year at Lebanon High School, has been selected to join American Legion Boys Nation as a senator July 21-28 in Washington, D.C.
The next step up from Boys State, Boys Nation is an annual American Legion program that includes civic training, leadership development and a focus on Americanism. Brooks was elected both Speaker of the House and First Citizen at Oregon Boys State earlier this summer.
Two boys from each state, with the exception of Hawaii, are selected to participate in Boys Nation each year. Brooks will be joined by Austin Bannerman of Salem Academy Christian High School in representing Oregon.
During the eight days at Boys Nation, the participants will learn through personal experience how the U.S. Senate and the federal government function. Boys are divided into two political parties, the Federalists and the Nationalists, each of which conducts a party convention, sets a platform and nominates members for elected offices, including Boys Nation president, vice president and party leaders.
Each senator also will write, introduce and debate a bill of his choosing before an appropriate Senate committee, and if successful at that level, the legislation will be voted on by the whole Senate. Bills passing the Senate are later signed or vetoed by the Boys Nation president.
Participants also will have an opportunity to tour the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall and Korean War Memorial. They will present a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, see the Iwo Jima Memorial and visit Capitol Hill for meetings with their state’s U.S. senators. They may have the opportunity to visit the Pentagon and the White House as well. In addition, delegates will attend a dinner at a nearby Legion post hosted by National Commander Charles Schmidt of Oregon.
The stay in the nation's capital will be the second this month for Brooks, who was also chosen by Consumers Power Inc. to be the company's youth representative for the Washington, D.C., Youth Tour. As part of that tour, which ran July 15-19, he was selected to represent Oregon on the National Youth Leadership Council.
At Lebanon High School, Brooks will be student body president this fall. He has been team captain for both the varsity baseball and football teams, a Junior Rotarian, a Junior Optimist of the Month, a 4-H Junior Leader and a member of National Honor Society.
This past February, as a junior, Brooks gathered $5,000 in donations to honor local veterans. He organized a "Military Appreciation Night" and treated about 50 veterans to a free basketball game at the high school, complete with commemorative T-shirt, dessert social and a "challenge" coin to mark the occasion.
Brooks has said he plans to attend Oregon State University and eventually become a United States Naval Special Warfare Officer.