Students Meet and Debate Ideas for New legislation
80 students from across the 54th Senate District converged on Vandalia this week to learn more about government, public service, and the process of passing legislation. The event was part of State Senator Jason Plummer’s (R-Edwardsville) Youth Advisory Council (YAC) program.
“If we want a strong democracy, then we need to ensure that the next generation of citizens are involved and active participants in their government,” said Senator Plummer. “This program is an opportunity to engage students in the process so that they can get involved at a young age, and maybe even consider a career in public service.”
Students began their day by meeting with Senator Plummer and hearing from local leaders, including Misty Borrowman, President and CEO of the Bank of Hillsboro, as well as George Evans, President of Kaskaskia College. The three held a Q&A session to discuss the importance of leadership and good governance, as well as talking about their own backgrounds and unique careers.
“So far it’s awesome, “ said Highland High School Student Garrett Schlarmann. “I love the opportunity to hear what professionals and Senator Plummer have to say, and meeting other kids who are passionate and being able to work together to solve some problems.”
In the afternoon, students worked together in small groups to discuss major issues and develop ideas for new legislation. Eventually, they voted to advance one of their proposals for action at the next YAC meeting in the spring.
“It’s been great being involved in all of the processes, learning what the Senator does, and how I can get involved,” said Nashville Community High School student Valerie Combs. “Today I’ve learned the importance of getting involved in my community and giving back to the communities that have given so much to all students.”
“Honestly, it’s been a great experience, coming here, meeting students from across the district and learning about the differences between the schools, what they view, what they think is more important, it’s just a really enlightening experience,” said Bond County High School student Colton Trapp.
The students will meet again in the spring where they will have the opportunity to hold a mock committee hearing on their legislation, taking on the roles of legislators, lobbyists, and concerned citizens.
Plummer’s YAC program is open to all high school students in the 54th Senate District. He encourages students who are interested in taking part to contact their principal or superintendent.