Just days after winning the election, State Sen. Jason Barickman took to the Alumni Center on Illinois State University’s campus, where he held part 1 of his Youth Advisory Council.
High school teens from schools around Central Illinois gathered to debate hot button issues and discuss ways in which the community can work together to improve policy.
“These students whether they are old enough to vote or not, they have strong opinions on a whole host of topics and as their representative i think its important for me to hear from them,” said Barickman.
Students spend a day discussing topics and laws in Normal. Later on in the school year that same group will come together in the spring, that time in Springfield, to see everything they’ve learned in action.
“The hope is that we are whetting their appetite for some career or other in public service,” said Barickman.
Even though they cant vote for the issues yet, the students say the council is important, because it allows them a greater understanding of how these topics might affect their peers.
“It brings a different perspective,” said Eureka High School Sophomore Garrett Thomas. “Especially for our more conservative bubble in Eureka, it gives us the ability to see what other people’s perspective is and what they think is important in their life.
The advisory council is part of Barickman’s plan to include young people in the political process. He believes the only way to do that is to create a two-way dialogue.