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Anderson gives students hands-on experience learning about state government

 

“I can’t say enough how impressed I was with these students, the thoughtful questions they asked, and how engaged they were.” said Sen. Anderson. “If these kids are our state’s future, we’re in good hands.”

Nearly 30 high school students traveled to Springfield May 3 for a hands-on experience in the Illinois General Assembly as part of the spring portion of a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) hosted by State Sen. Neil Anderson (Andalusia).

“In the fall, students from throughout the district joined me at the Quad Cities Campus of Western Illinois University to talk about state issues, and learn about creating policy. This week, they came to Springfield to continue learning and put that knowledge into action,” said Anderson.

A total of 29 students from nine schools throughout the 36th Senate District visited the State Capitol, where they had the opportunity to visit the Senate floor; learn from lawmakers, staff, lobbyists and legislative liaisons; and meet with the Governor.

 
  Students met, and had their photo taken with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“I think it’s important that my generation knows about politics and what goes on in our government, because we are the next generation that is going to have to lead, and there are really big decisions being made that we don’t’ know about,” said Emily Chezum from East Moline Christian. “I think it’s good to be informed and to be ready to make those decisions.”

Max Saint Fort, a student at Rock Island High School, said he was surprised by how much bipartisanship he saw. “Talking to some of the different senators, and people who used to be, and people who work in this right now, they really have a lot of respect for each other and seem to work together really well and that’s nice to see,” he said.

 
  Rock Island County students pose for a picture on the Senate floor.

In the afternoon, students participated in a mock committee in a Senate committee room, playing the role of either a Senator, lobbyist, concerned citizen or member of the media. As part of the simulation, students presented legislation, argued its merits, and heard testimony from proponents and opponents before ultimately voting on the proposal.

“This is a pretty great experience for any student to get to do,” said East Moline Christian student Xavier Pena, who also noted, “Talking with other people who have different opinions has really helped me just be open to different opinions to understand both sides.”

 
  Whiteside County students pose for a picture on the Senate floor.

Andrew Henniges from Rockridge High School said he would definitely recommend this experience to other students, saying his favorite part was the committee debate. “I thought my favorite part was just some of the debate topics, and like, the arguments behind them. Just trying to understand the other side and what’s going through their heads,” he said.

“I can’t say enough how impressed I was with these students, the thoughtful questions they asked, and how engaged they were.” said Sen. Anderson. “If these kids are our state’s future, we’re in good hands.”

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