State Senator Jason Barickman(R-Bloomington) welcomed more than 40 Illinois high school students to the Capitol April 15 to act as legislators, staffers, governor, lobbyists, concerned citizens, and reporters during a mock Senate committee hearing.
“Our hope is to engage these bright young students in the process by letting them actually take part in a simulation of the very process that passes laws in Illinois,” said Sen. Barickman. “I was amazed at how enthusiastic the students were in playing their roles, whether they were lobbying to get their bill passed, or acting as a reporter and asking tough questions about the legislation.”
Sen. Barickman’s Youth Advisory Day simulated an Education Committee meeting, which focused on legislation that was proposed by the students at the fall Youth Advisory Day in Bloomington.
Before the committee hearing, students were taken on a tour of the Capitol, which included spending time on the Senate floor, as well as meeting several lawmakers, lobbyists, staff members, and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“It was exciting to see the inner workings of Springfield, it was enlightening to see how much our local legislators do influence our daily lives, it was really insightful,” said Eureka High School student Christian Engel. “I’d always grown up thinking lawmakers don’t really work well with others, but we saw with Senator Barickman, how he was always thinking about he could cooperate with other people and what thing he could do to collaborate with others. It was really nice to see that, it was really encouraging.”
“We got to meet a lot of really cool people, a lot of really important people, and we got to hear a lot about the legislative process. We got to simulate it ourselves, and there was a lot of really good debate,” said Normal Community West student Emily Schroeder. “Just overall, a really good insight into the process. If I could, I would definitely come back next year, it was very cool.”