Several high school students from the 41st Senate District got to see what it’s like to try to propose and pass laws at the Illinois State Capitol April 30, as part of State Sen. John Curran’s (R-Downers Grove) Youth Advisory Council.
“This is program is designed to engage young people in the process of government, and open their eyes to future careers in public service,” said Sen. Curran. “It’s a great opportunity to come to the Capitol on a busy session day and learn first-hand how their state government works.
The students spent part of the day hearing from lawmakers, lobbyists and others involved in state government, before getting the chance to conduct a mock committee hearing in an actual Senate committee room about a proposal that they developed at a previous event in the fall.
“I thought it was really interesting to see how the government works, and meet the people behind it and hear their philosophies on it,” said Lyons Township High School student Greg Smith.
“I really think it’s a great experience to see how government works on a very personal level, and learn how the system works,” said Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family student Liam Giles.
During the hearing, the students debated and voted on their mock legislation just as an actual Senate committee would do. They were then able to wrap up the day with a tour of the Capitol complex.
“Getting the opportunity to emulate the kind of activity that occurs in the statehouse every day, that gives you a better understanding of what happens here and what your politicians are doing,” said Lyons Township High School student Lars Lonnroth.
“I really liked seeing the various rooms and we got some insight into how the voting and committees worked,” said Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family student John Beecher. “It gives you a real insight into how a career in politics would work.”
“I loved learning the inside of politics in Springfield, I loved meeting all the Senators, it was super cool to see the state building,” said Lyons Township High School student Ethan Aylesworth. “I’d recommend this to any student who wants to learn more about politics.”
Sen. Curran’s Youth Advisory Council Program will begin again in the fall. Interested students in the 41st Senate District are encouraged to talk to their teachers or school administrators about taking part in the program.
“It’s always great to meet the students, hear about what issues they are concerned with, and see them connect with what is happening in government,” said Sen. Curran. “This is a great way to help give the next generation of leaders a head start.”