Not many soon-to-be seniors at Leavenworth High School can say their résumé includes governor of Kansas — but Chayne Dessaso can.

By RIMSIE MCCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com

Not many soon-to-be seniors at Leavenworth High School can say their résumé includes governor of Kansas — but Chayne Dessaso can.
He was recently elected governor of the 2018 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy.

He was grateful and excited when the results were announced but he wasn’t really surprised because he did well at the debate, had consistently campaigned around the lunch room, had lots of support from the voters and gave ‘a solid speech’ at the party convention.
Always interested in politics and how it works, Chayne says he was less curious about the ins and outs of government. “But this year with participating in the American Legion Oratorical and in Boys State, I really did learn much more about how things work and how government functions from the legislature to the executive to the judicial branch not just on the surface level but also beneath the surface,” says Chayne. “In short, I got ‘woke’ on government.”

Describing himself as “pretty conservative on most issues” he identified with the views of the boys in the Federalist Party.  He worked on campaigns with the Leavenworth GOP and is a member of the Young Republicans of North East Kansas. “During the Federalist party debates, I stated that I would never use state funds to fund Planned Parenthood and I campaigned on gun rights, lower taxes, energy independence (pro-coal, pro-gas) legalizing marijuana, and a balanced budget to fund the counties,” says Chayne. He supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

He and his running mate, Nate Baker, who attends Lansing High School were aligned on most of the issues. They were both party chairs and they co-wrote the party platform. “The most important issue however and the reason why I picked Nate to be lieutenant governor was that he promised to work directly with the county governments to fund the state and get projects done and that was what differentiated us from the other gubernatorial campaigns and it was what really sealed the election for us,” says Chayne.
Chayne’s belief in the Federalist Party is for the most part because it is conservative, but he believes it is truly freedom-oriented and his party is firmly behind freedom, whether financial, social or personal. He found party differences interesting. “The Nationalist candidate was a very likable guy, but I don’t think he communicated his message very well,” says Chayne. “Most of his campaign was based on legalizing marijuana, which was something all of the candidates wanted to do, which really undercut his campaign. The Liberty candidate, in my opinion, tried to fill a gap between the two parties that didn’t exist. He took talking points from both parties and mixed them together which undercut his credibility.”

Daylan Williams, also a Leavenworth High School student, was elected attorney general at Boys State. “I know Daylan from ROTC,” says Chayne. He is actually the battalion commander of the Leavenworth High School JROTC Battalion. Daylan was on my staff at Boys State and he was awesome, he was one of the hardest working members of the staff and always brought a high level of intensity and drive into the office. I’m really looking forward to working with him this year on the staff for JROTC.”
In his inaugural address after being elected governor Chayne said he tried to unify the state. “There was a lot of angst about the budget and about the tension between the governor's office and the House of Representatives and I wanted to put that behind us so that we could move forward and have fun at Boys State.”

Chayne’s experience at Boys State gave him the opportunity to learn to work with people — not only how to listen to his constituents, but also how to work with the legislative members. “It’s not only what you want to do that matters but also how you go about doing it,” says Chayne.
The opportunity to hone leadership and problem-solving skills at Boys State was greatly appreciated by Chayne. He particularly liked that the experience pushed him out of his comfort zone and gave him responsibility, which he believes allowed him to grow as a leader and as a person.
The emphasis on civic responsibility was also stressed at Boys State. “It really is a very robust program with a lot of hands-on experience but also with a great program of guest speakers including community advocates, legislators, and motivational speakers who all drove home the message of service and civic responsibility in their speeches,” says Chayne. “The speakers, the hands-on experience, the counselors and veterans at Boys State together really do a fabulous job at helping the attendees understand what being a good citizen really means.”

He is proud of the many people in Leavenworth who volunteer for the betterment of their community, but he thinks there is always room for improvement and we can always do more.
“I’ve met a lot of great people through JROTC, National Honor Society, the Catholic Church, and the Local GOP who really want to see our community grow and prosper but there is always room for involvement, so I would encourage everyone in our county and city to volunteer and to help out in the community,” says Chayne.
A career in politics is very appealing to Chayne. He has had the opportunity to meet many political leaders in the area, including Jeff Colyer, Kris Kobach and Sly James and he is most impressed by leaders who are motivated by service and dedicated to their constituents. “That’s what I tried to do at Boys State and I think I did a fair job, and if one day I could do that for the people of my community and the people of my country then I would gladly accept that challenge,” says Chayne.

Chayne is looking forward to having fun in his senior year. He wants to put some fun trips together for his debate and Model U.N. teams as a highlight to his high school years. After high school he wants to pursue a degree in international relations so that he can become a lawyer or a foreign service officer.
With the confidence that he gained at Boys State, he may very well pursue the path to political office someday. And if in time he acquires the title President Dessaso, his goals would be, “getting honesty back in the media, depolarizing society, securing the southern border, and growing the economy.” And Boys State wisdom will serve him well even then. “If you want to do something then try it. If you fail, then move on but don’t limit your possibilities,” says Chayne.