|Sunrise, FL||Nov. 12 – 13, 2016||Southeast Fall State – DoubleTree Sawgrass Mills|
“From Promises to Policy: Unifying the Nation” questions the future of America through a series of debates and simulations. After a contentious election season that so far has contained more vapid mudslinging than clearly articulated policy positions, the people of this nation will be asking themselves, what’s next? This convention will focus on challenges the country will face over the next four-years and issues that will play a key role in the development of the nations policies. Delegates will engage in debates and discussion designed to assess how the course of our nation might shift due to the results of election night. Will our new leaders push forth on their campaign promises or, once elected, will they change their policy positions? At the convention, students will voice their opinions on topics that cause division and controversy throughout the country. Key topics include partisanship, healthcare, immigration, the economy, and foreign policy. By the end of the weekend, attendees will have learned to better articulate their own thoughts about what’s next for America and how we can come together to make the country stronger, improve the lives of all.
Every convention will have a unique set of debate resolutions that fit within the theme. The following five resolutions will be debated at all eleven conventions. After the conventions, JSA will have a sense of how students across the nation feel about these nine resolutions:
1. Resolved, that Social Security be privatized for future beneficiaries.
2. Resolved, that free trade policies are superior to economic protectionism.
3. Resolved, that Donald Trump is not a true Conservative.
4. Resolved, that Hillary Clinton is not a true Liberal.
5. Resolved, that the United States institute a military no-fly zone in Syria.
6. Resolved, that veterans be permitted to use their government health benefits at private medical institutions.
7. Resolved, that the United States screen potential immigrants for extremist ideological views. (Governor’s Gavel Debate)
8. Resolved, that Americans have a 2nd Amendment right to possess semi-automatic firearms.
What style of debate is used at the conventions?
Debates serve as the cornerstone of the Junior State by giving delegates a forum to express their views in an orderly fashion, while promoting a clash of ideas that leads to deeper understanding of controversial issues. Using parliamentary debate style, delegates develop political awareness, attitudes and public speaking skills through participation.
JSA debates center around “resolutions” that outline the issue being discussed. For example, “resolved, Social Security should be privatized.” Debates begin with six-minute opening speeches by the main affirmative and negative speakers. These two debaters are selected prior to the convention; they research and prepare their arguments beforehand. A pre-selected student moderator guides the action following the opening speeches, where any student in the audience may volunteer for three minute subsequent speeches in support of either side. Download the Junior State Debate Handbook from the Virtual Library for a complete guide to debating in the Junior State.
Students vote for the “Best Speaker” at the end of each debate. The main focus of Junior State debate is, however, on persuading the audience and imparting a greater understanding of the issues involved ,rather than competition between speakers.