Nearly 70 high school students from 26 high schools across State Sen. Chapin Rose’s (R-Mahomet) 51st Senate District participated in a unique, hands-on experience in public policy, state government, and leadership on Dec. 8, as part of Rose’s Youth Advisory Council.
Rose hosted the all-day Youth Advisory Council in Decatur at Richland Community College with the students being selected by their principals and teachers.
Marina Moore, Tim Glumac and Lindsey Hodges represented Mahomet-Seymour High School.
Glumac, who found out about the event from his Government and Law teacher Keith Pogue, said he is interested in government, so he gladly accepted the opportunity.
Glumac has spent a day on the floor with Senator Rose every year since fifth grade.
The students interacted with a wide range of local opinion leaders and got an in-depth look at how state government works.
Rose shared his experiences at the Statehouse, led a presentation on the state budget, and explained how public policy can shape the student’s everyday lives.
Students also spent time in small groups discussing and debating policy issues important to them and how any new proposal could face challenges or become successful legislation.
During these discussions, Rose spent time with each small group, asking students questions about their proposed policy change and how they would advocate for their issue.
Glumac said his group held similar views.
“There was very little division in a group of over 50 people,” he said. “Considering how divisive the system can be, I was pleasantly surprised.”
“The highlights of our discussion were definitely education reform and cutting down on Medicare spending. Our ideas regarding education reform revolved around deregulating and expanding vocational programs in schools and modernizing higher education to fit the current times, such as offering IT certification programs at top-tier schools like the University of Illinois. These issues were important to us because they directly affect our future and the economy of the state.”
Glumac also enjoyed listening to Rose talk about his personal struggles with Common Core as a parent, his ideas regarding energy infrastructure and how it can improve the economy, and his theories on Illinois’ spending.
“They are definitely among Illinois’ best and brightest,” Rose said.
Students also heard from Sister Ritamary Brown from St. Mary’s Hospital, Brian Byers, radio host of Byers & Company on WSOY Decatur, and Julie Curry, a lobbyist and President of Curry and Associates.
The speakers shared stories of their experiences in the workforce and provided first-hand knowledge about public policy, leadership, and how to be successful.
In the spring, Rose’s Youth Advisory Council continues when students visit the Statehouse in Springfield. There, they will tour the capital, experience the legislative process up close, be active participants in a mock committee hearing, and hear from legislative leaders about what it’s like to do their job.