- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - Speaking to the Boys State program that played a significant role in his campaign narrative, former President Bill Clinton on Thursday said compromise and finding ways to work with others despite divisions is a key part of America.

Clinton was inducted into the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame as the group marked its 75th anniversary. Clinton, who served as Arkansas governor for 12 years, served as a delegate to the group as a teenager. Clinton urged more than 600 delegates gathered for the weeklong program to stay involved and to find ways to work with people with whom they disagree.

“I hope you will remember that whatever you do in life, being a good citizen, which means both disagreeing and coming together in honorable compromise, is the essence of what makes America work. … The world will belong to the cooperators,” Clinton said.

Clinton was a delegate for Arkansas at Boys Nation in the summer of 1963 when a photographer documented the future president shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The image resurfaced as Clinton made his run for the presidency in 1992.

Sponsored by the American Legion, Boys State is a program for high school juniors where participants learn about civics and run in mock elections. The program elects delegates to send to Boys Nation in Washington.

Clinton said the Rose Garden meeting came after the Boys Nation delegates had voted for a civil rights bill that the nation’s governors had declined to endorse.

“He said he wanted us to go home and talk to our governors because we were doing better than they were,” Clinton said.

Clinton also praised the Arkansas Legislature for approving an $87 million incentive package that’s aimed at helping Lockheed Martin win the contract for a defense vehicle that the company says it will assemble in south Arkansas. Clinton cited the vote as a sign of both parties working together, noting the incentive package had the support of Democrats and Republicans in the majority-GOP Legislature.

“I would have voted for that because Arkansas is in competition with all these other states and the rest of the world,” Clinton said.

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo .

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