Recognizing that nearly three quarters of the over 100 million Americans under the age of 24 do not believe that our government adequately represents them, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) has introduced a resolution calling on the President to create a Presidential Youth Council.
The resolution, drafted by the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, is intended to help provide America's youth a stronger voice in government by allowing Congress and the President to appoint a panel of 16 to 24 year olds who have proven through public service that they are engaged and informed and empower them to solicit the unique views and perspectives of the nation's youth and inject those views into policy deliberations.
"Our nation was founded on the principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. For us to live up to that principal, it's important that all Americans know that their voices are heard in the debates that drive the nation," said Congressman Larson. "I've found that an active Congressional Youth Cabinet not only helps students in my district engage on the issues that affect them, they also help me better represent my district. I know a Presidential Youth Council would do the same thing for the President, providing him and his cabinet with a direct link to our youngest generation. I hope my colleagues will join me to pass this resolution and encourage the Administration to make this idea a reality."
Youth councils are a proven approach for engaging young people in organizations. The National League of Cities estimates that there are over 400 local youth councils in cities across the U.S. Major companies and organizations regularly bring together youth advisory panels to collect their unique perspective. And even the State Department is building youth councils in U.S. embassies across the globe. A long time advocate for youth in our national debate, Congressman Larson created his own youth cabinet four years ago comprised of two students from every school in the First Congressional District of Connecticut, which he meets regularly with for insights into the issues effecting Connecticut youth and their families.
Larson was joined in Washington this week by representatives of his youth council to help announce the resolution. "This legislation that Congressman Larson is introducing will actively engage youth in all levels of government, from the presidential level to the level where Members of Congress have their own cabinets," said Matt Wilson, a 17 year old Wethersfield resident. "The government youth advisory opportunity means more future citizens will feel positively connected to their government and better realize outcomes in youth programs that our government spends precious, finite resources on. We hope that every Member of Congress and each Senator signs on to the bill to help ensure a healthy democracy for tomorrow and to help us protect our democracy for tomorrow's citizens."
Over 100 local, state and national youth-serving organizations support the creation of a Presidential Youth Council, including The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, DoSomething.org, The Forum for Youth Investment, Rock The Vote, and Youth Service America.