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Presiding Officers: Meet the Candidates 2024

By: Kate Krouse and Sammey Malik

Presiding officer speeches have begun, and with nine candidates running, energy is high! As they take the stage, all candidates demonstrate passion and dedication towards North Carolina’s YAG Program.

In her third year at the conference, Sloane Whalen loves every part of YAG. She has been a clerk for presiding officers in past years, but this year has higher aspirations. Using her real-life exposure, she aims to expand pre-conference resources and incorporate the North Carolina State Senate into the program.

Alice Neelon has participated in YAG since her freshman year, which has impacted her. Being a part of a smaller delegation, her main goal is to support others in similar positions. She won Model Committee Chair last year and will bring enthusiasm if elected as a presiding officer this year.

Alexis Roth learned the intricacies of government through YAG and plans to pursue a career in the field. She promises to be generous with her time and helpful to all delegates. If elected, Roth wants to focus on giving all bills equal presentation time to create a more just and fair legislative experience.

As a junior at Ravenscroft School, Deanna Bennett has participated in YAG throughout high school. Attending CONA provided her with better public speaking skills. She plans to utilize those skills as a presiding officer and other aspects of life.

Taylor Ward loves the beach, Taylor Swift, iced coffee, and dogs! Being a three-year program member, Ward is passionate about making a positive change if elected as presiding officer. She is a firm believer that all voices matter and are valued. She’s a current committee chair, but as the presiding officer, Ward hopes to use her connections with the state to enhance the YAG program.

Addison Shute has participated in the YAG community as a clerk and student delegation leader. If elected, her goals are to get YAG alumni involved and help other students have as much fun as possible! She wants all new members of YAG to feel welcome, and as presiding officer, she would set up preparation sessions for new delegates.

Although not expecting much coming into YAG, Jack Snipes’ bill was passed through the Governor’s Cabinet last year. He also served as a North Carolina Senate and Governor’s Page. He is currently running with the ultimate goal of providing all delegates with a fantastic conference experience.

As a junior at NRCA, Robbie Burns wants to give back to YAG after all it has done for him. He enjoyed voting on the Taylor Swift Bill last year but wants to focus on his talents elsewhere this year.

Haley Lee wasn’t the biggest fan of YAG at first, and she even attempted to run for speaker of the house at NRCA but backed out because she didn’t view herself as a candidate or leader. Although, she didn’t give up and is now giving YAG a second chance. Coming in with a new perspective, she felt she could “conquer the experience” and be a self-image for this community.