Mock Con 2016: The final countdown

Faith Isbell

The 26th Washington and Lee University Mock Convention is fast approaching, and the student organization is gearing up for the events ahead leading up to the weekend of Mock Con. This year, Mock Con will be held on the weekend of Feb. 11-13.

This past week, the Speakers Committee announced the names of the first four speakers, who will be spread across different sessions throughout the weekend.

The speakers include Republican pollster, television personality and writer Kristen Soltis Anderson, U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie and former U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich. The 2016 Convention will not be Gingrich’s first time in attendance, as Gingrich spoke at the 1996 Convention.

Speakers Chair Paul Lagarde, ‘16, in the Political Department hoped to find speakers similar to those who would appear at a real Republican National Convention.

“We’re trying to emulate what a real convention would look like to the best of our abilities,” Lagarde said. “We wanted to represent a broad spectrum of society in the Republican Party with our speakers.”

An estimated eight more speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

As convention weekend draws closer, General Secretary Lindsay Cates, ‘16, finds that Mock Con has been working non-stop. Cates serves as the official contact of the organization and is responsible for all internal communications and staff oversight.

Although most committee positions are closed, Cates encourages students to apply for the Security Team. The Security Team is in charge of providing a safe environment at all official Mock Con events and are looking to hire more students who are willing to get involved. Applications are posted on the Mock Con website.

“[The security team] is the last chance for students to get involved in Convention and is pretty integral in running the Convention,” Cates said. “It is a good way to get behind the scenes and be involved in Mock Con as an organization.”

Mock Con General Admission tickets went on sale on Jan. 13. The tickets are open to W&L students not in a delegation, parents, alumni and the general public. W&L students in a delegation are not required to purchase tickets.

One-day passes for Friday or Saturday are $50. Weekend passes for both Friday and Saturday are $80. Admission to the Mudd Center Debate, “The Ethics of Citizenship,” on Feb. 11 is free for W&L students. Will Call will be set up in Elrod Commons Living Room from Feb. 8-13, and tickets ordered online can be picked up at Will Call.

The Political Department has also been hard at work. Midwest Regional Chair Matt Kinderman, ‘16, has been working with other regional and state chairs on a variety of tasks in preparation for Mock Con, including performing research on particular states, making predictions on who the state will vote for, searching for endorsements within particular state and gearing up for Delegate Parade on Feb. 12.

“We didn’t have much of a winter break,” Kinderman said. “We’ve been hitting the ground running and working hard.”

Cates echoes Kinderman’s thoughts on the busy next few weeks that lie ahead for the Mock Convention.

“Twenty-sixteen seems to be wide open and incredibly challenging, but it’s a good opportunity for the research team,” Cates said. “It’s a huge organization with a lot of different moving parts. The next four weeks will be pulling all of those parts together.”