Mock Convention: What are you looking forward to most?

Mock Con leadership excited and hopeful about upcoming weekend

Alex Kinzer

After almost three years of preparation, Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention Weekend 2016 is only a few days away.

Longtime members of the student-led organization are ready to show off all of their hard work in a weekend packed with noteworthy speakers, a state delegation parade through the streets of Lexington, a Mudd Center for the Ethics debate and the final Roll Call with W&L’s prediction for the 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee.

“I’m really excited for that first opening gavel,” Mock Convention General Chair Andrew McCaffery, ’16, said. “It will be really cool to have lights go down and hear the convention hall get quiet and let everyone see what we’ve been working on for so many years.”

Media Director Jenna Faude, ’16, agreed. “I’m most excited just to see all of the work we’ve been doing over the past three years really pay off in a really tangible way,” she said.

With nine candidates still in the running for the Republican nomination, predicting the nominee is not a simple task for the political team. Regardless, the organization is committed to making a correct prediction.

“This race has just shown itself to be just incredibly unpredictable at times,” Kevin Ortiz, ’16, one of two Political Directors for the organization, said.

Although Ortiz said numerous people have reached out to him saying that they recognize how difficult it will be to predict the Republican nominee in this election cycle, he said that Mock Convention is still determined to get it right.

Since organizing an event such as Mock Convention is a monumental task, the leadership team is excited to see the results of all their hard work.

“The amount of work that goes into making something like this happen is totally different than I [initially] expected… As it gets closer and closer you kind of realize all of the nitty-gritty things that need to get done,” Faude said.

“Mock Convention is so cool because every four years a new group of students gets to decide exactly what they want their Mock Con to look like,” General Secretary Lindsay Cates, ’16, said. “Every Mock Con is unique, but based on our speakers lineup and plans for the Convention Hall, ours should be pretty great, if not the best Mock Con to date.”

Many members of the leadership team cited the speakers as the thing they are most excited for about Mock Con.

“How many times do you get to listen to Dick Cheney speak?” Randy Karlson, ‘16, the Co-Director of Communications, said. “I’m really looking forward to all of them because it’s really going to give us a good idea of the state of the whole party – all of the different viewpoints.”

McCaffery highlighted the convention’s keynote speaker, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who graduated from W&L in 1989.

“Governor Matt Bevin… is a really cool snag for our keynote, just because he will be able to relate really well to the campus and to the delegate population, so we’re looking at that address as a great wrap up to the convention activities,” McCaffery said.

In addition to the speakers, Cates is looking forward to the State Delegate Parade on Friday morning.

“It’s been really fun to talk to a lot of the State Chairs over the past few weeks and hear their ideas for their floats… A lot of people have been putting a ton of work into planning and organizing the parade, which is not small task, and I think that hard work will be seen in a great parade on Friday morning.”

Web Chair Anna Russell Thornton, ’16, expressed her confidence in the organization.

“The operations/events team this year is a stellar group of people who have worked hard to make every part of the weekend go well,” Thornton said. “W&L students continually impress me with their capacity for professionalism, creativity, and excellence.”

“We feel ready,” Co-Political Director Matt Kinderman, ‘16, agreed. “It’s a ton of different items and moving parts coming together [for Convention Weekend], but we’ve got a good organization and are ready to go.”

For more information about Mock Convention schedules, speakers, and events, visit