March 09, 2006

Youth Government Day is March 25 in Springfield

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- High school and junior college students interested in politics and public service can take advantage of an opportunity to hear from some of the state's leading political figures in Springfield.

The sixth Youth Government Day – sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute – is Saturday, March 25. The daylong event takes place at the Capitol Complex and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The event also includes independent tours of the library and museum.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the afternoon session keynote speaker.

The event is free. There is a maximum of 250 participants, and the registration deadline is Tuesday, March 21. Interested applicants may register online at or call the institute at 618/453-4009 for more information.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover any of the Youth Government Day activities. Contact institute assistant director Matt Baughman at 618/453-4009 for more information.


"Unfortunately, young people interested in making a positive difference in society don't

always get the encouragement they need. We are delighted to give students this great opportunity to hear from accomplished leaders who have gained a great deal of personal satisfaction from their public service," said Mike Lawrence, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, will deliver the morning keynote address. There are then four, 30-minute rotating breakout sessions featuring Illinois state Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, and Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora; Donovan Pepper, a government relations manager and lobbyist for Walgreens; and SIUC graduates Bryen Johnson and Philip Keene, Illinois Senate staff members who got their starts through internship opportunities. Schock is the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Johnson is a Senate Democratic staff member, and graduated from SIUC with a bachelor's degree in speech communication in 2004; Keene is a Senate Republican staff member who also graduated from SIUC in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in radio-television.

Madigan will deliver the afternoon address at 2 p.m.

Regularly held at SIUC, this is the first year the event will be in Springfield.

"This year we decided to move the event from Southern Illinois to Springfield, the seat of state government and the hometown of one of our state's and nation's greatest public servants, Abraham Lincoln," institute assistant director Matt Baughman said. "By hosting it in Springfield, the institute is able to provide students the opportunity to visit the Capitol building as well as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as part of the day's events."

The events are:

Saturday, March 25

8 a.m. – Registration and continental breakfast. Howlett Building, Old Hall of Flags.

9 a.m. – Address by U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood R-Peoria. Illinois House of Representatives Chamber.

10:15 a.m. – Breakout sessions in Senate and House Committee rooms.

12:15 p.m. – Lunch. Howlett Building, Old Hall of Flags.

2 p.m. – Address by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Shuttle bus service will be provided.

3 p.m. – Independent tours of library and museum.

Serving others, providing community outreach programs and developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.