State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) hosted prestigious students from across the 41st Senate District on December 5 at his first Fall Youth Advisory Council, where they learned firsthand how the legislative process works and policy is created.
“What I love about the Youth Advisory Council is that it allows students to learn about the legislative process through experiencing it,” said Curran. “It challenges them to work with students from other schools, who may have different thoughts and ideas, and achieve a compromise. It’s a great practice in civics education, public service and team-building.”
Curran hosted the event at Downers Grove Public Library and invited four speakers to talk about their experiences in government, including Naperville City Councilwoman Patty Gustin, State Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove), Almost Home Kids Executive Director Debbie Grisko and Judge Bo Anderson.
“I hand-selected each of the speakers based on all the different expertise and aspects of public service they can offer young people,” said Curran. “They’re highly engaging and accomplished in their fields. Their success and experiences let the students know there are so many routes they can consider when pursuing a role or career in public service.”
Curran then gave the students the opportunity to try their hand at policy-making. The participants were broken down into smaller groups of students from different schools. Working together, they were to discuss and develop ideas for possible state legislation that they would want to pass as state legislators. The entire council then took a popular vote to decide the winning mock legislative proposal.
The proposal will carry over to Sen. Curran’s Spring Youth Advisory Council, which will take place onsite at the State Capitol in Springfield. There, all the students will participate in a mock committee hearing and discuss the legislative proposal in detail. While at the Capitol, students will also get to visit the Senate Chambers and experience the legislative process for themselves.