Ducheneaux focuses on youth, building relationships as newly elected governor
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Ducheneaux focuses on youth, building relationships as newly elected governor

By Margaret Barnett, Sacajawea Scroll

Calico Ducheneaux has taken great interest in getting to know the delegates at South Dakota Girls State.

Now that she is governor, she is excited to have the opportunity to meet and affect even more delegates.

“I could not be more excited. I could not be more proud,” said Esther Swift, Ducheneaux’s senior counselor.

“The second I found out, all of those fears of not being enough or not feeling like I was enough just kind of went away and I just felt like pure excitement,” said Ducheneaux referencing her announcement as the next Girls State governor.

Many delegates and staff were excited and intrigued by Ducheneaux’s platform.

“We always just kind of talk about what we’re going to do in the future and I like how she is bringing it to our current level and where we are right now and talking about how important it is to be active right now where you are,” said Swift.

Delegate Sofia Ledeneva of Cleveland added: “She has a very solid platform and it really embodies the principals that I hold dear.”

Throughout the week, many invited speakers spoke about getting involved where delegates can contribute to their communities as students and teenagers. Ducheneaux listened and incorporated that into her platform.

“You in Your Youth” focuses on the message many speakers gave the delegates at South Dakota Girls State.

“I think that’s just genius how she chose that as her platform,” said Ruhama Tereda, the outgoing Girls State governor. “She’s so authentic and personable on the stage, which I think is just such an important quality for a governor to have because we kind of have this archetype in our head of some austere figure, you know, leading us, and us in our youth. That’s not the reality of who we are as a generation, and so I think her kind of getting down on our level is something that a lot of Girls Staters will relate with.”

Relating with the delegates is something that has been important to Ducheneaux.

“Being young is not knowing things and being able to accept the fact that you don’t always know the answers,” Ducheneaux said.

Ducheneaux is now known for her calm and well-informed answers on stage. She said she is now looking forward to seeing Girls State with a new perspective next year and officiating the meetings as Tereda did for Girls State 2018.

“She is poised, she is very articulate, she has a very good way with words, she seems to be very solid in her opinions and overall I think she’ll be a great governor,” said Ledeneva.

Other delegates were impressed by Ducheneaux’s capabilities as a leader.

“I think she’s going to breathe a lot of life into Girls State,” Tereda said.

Swift added that the delegates also have faith in Ducheneaux as a leader.

“She is going to do such a good job and do so many beautiful things for Girls State,” said Swift. 

Ducheneaux said she is incredibly grateful for all the support from the delegates and how they made her feel included and appreciated.

“Even though there’s a part of me that’s nervous, I’m really excited to be representing this group of women at Girls State,” said Ducheneaux. “I’m really excited and proud that they chose me to be the person that kind of carries out their year and finishes it up for them.”

Kaitlyn Kroemer, the federalist keynote speaker enjoys that authenticity.

“She wants us all to feel like no matter what, that we can do great things no matter who we are,” Kroemer said. “I just want everybody to know how much thought went into this campaign and I just truly think it’s the most beautiful thing.”