Youth debate on Capitol Hill

By Becky GINOS

SALT LAKE CITY—More than 500 students from across the state converged on Capitol Hill last week to take part in the Utah League of Cities and Town’s 2018 Local Officials Day at the Legislature. Several Davis County students who are serving on city youth councils participated in mock committee hearings and discussions on current issues impacting the state. “This is a great program to get kids more involved in government,” said Mica McKee, a senior at Viewmont who is on the Centerville City Youth Council. “I am excited for the opportunity to be on the council and use it as an outlet to better the lives of others.” After the mock hearings at the Capitol, the students joined Gov. Gary Herbert, legislators and municipal leaders for a lunch and presentation at the Salt Palace Convention Center. “You are the rising generation,” said Herbert. “Who knows, there may be a governor or two here in the audience. Remember to register to vote and be involved and engaged in the process.” Herbert recalled a bit on the Jay Leno show called “Jaywalking” where the comedian would go out on the street and see how much people knew about the country and government. “The funny part was how ignorant people were,” said Herbert. “There were basic things they didn’t know.” Thomas Jefferson said, “Those who expect to be both ignorant and free, expect what never was and never will be,” Herbert quoted. “It’s important to know our government and the issues,” he said. “One survey showed that 69 percent of Americans couldn’t name the three branches of government. That’s not where we want to be. I’m gratified to see you all here to take on leadership.” The festivities included a drawing for tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton” that is taking the country by storm and will be coming to Salt Lake. Herbert drew out two students’ names that won tickets to the play and the opportunity to attend with a state official. “‘Hamilton’ is inspiring us,” said Herbert. “Don’t miss your shot at greatness, your shot to contribute to your community and to be the best we can be. Are you ready to take over? If not, what are you doing to prepare yourself? You’re going to have that opportunity to take on business, government and education. The fact that you’re here today shows you are preparing.” Presidential historian Mark Updegrove also spoke to the students. “I’ve had the opportunity to interact with several presidents,” he said. “Every man or (perhaps someday woman) who takes the oath of office wants to make his or her own mark on the presidency,” he said. “My challenge to you is to ask ‘what will your sentence (in history) be?’ You are leaders in this room and have the opportunity to make your mark. Not everyone will be in the history books but think about what you’d want people to say about you.” Updegrove shared a short video clip about Gerald Ford’s presidency. “He brought the country together at a perilous time,” he said. “There are times when goodness will do. You don’t need to be great – but it’s so important to be good.”



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