On October 10, State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) welcomed dozens of high school students from across the 59th Senate District to his annual Youth Advisory Council, a unique, hands-on opportunity for area students to learn about and experience state government and public policy.
“For the third year, I’m hosting this event to encourage a younger generation to take an active interest in the policy process and empower students to discuss issues that matter to them,” said Fowler. “These students will be shaping the future of our state, voting on issues, creating businesses and becoming leaders in their communities. I want them to understand that their opinions matter and their voices should be heard.”
Fowler hosted his all-day Youth Advisory Council at John A. Logan College in Carterville, bringing together students selected by their principals and teachers from, Galatia High School, Goreville High School, Sesser Vailer High School, Zeigler Royalton High School, Harrisburg High School, Frankfort High School, Herrin High School, Pope County High School, Eldorado High School, Anna-Jonesboro High School, Vienna High School, Crab Orchard High School, Hamilton County High School, and Cairo High School.
Senator Fowler invited local leaders in the community to speak to the students, including: Bryan Mullins, Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Southern Illinois University; Jared Gravatt, Owner of JG Marketing and Crown Brew Coffee Company; Chris Egelston, Owner Chris Egelston & Associates, Corporate Entertainer, Infotainer and Magician; and Jeff McGoy, Director, Exploratory Student Advisement Center for Learning Support Services at Southern Illinois University. Fowler also spoke about his experience as an area businessman, state legislator and philanthropist in Southern Illinois.
“We’ve brought together a number of community leaders to speak to these students and give them unique perspectives on what it means to make a difference, inspire change and be innovative,” said Fowler. “Leadership comes in all forms, and I hope that is something these students learn from today’s speakers.”
Afterwards, students 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, Fowler spent time with each small group, asking students questions about their proposed policy change and how they would advocate for their issue.
In the spring, Sen. Fowler’s Youth Advisory Council will meet again in Springfield, continuing the discussion about the legislative process from the Capitol and giving the students the opportunity to participate in a mock committee hearing and hear from legislative leaders about their role in state government.
“I look forward to our meeting this spring and bringing this bright group of students to the Capitol to experience the government process firsthand,” said Fowler.