March 08, 2007

Youth Government Day is March 24 in Springfield

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Keynote addresses by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, will highlight the seventh Youth Government Day – sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute – on Saturday, March 24.

The free daylong event takes place at the Capitol Complex and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The event also includes independent tours of the library and museum.

Illinois high school and junior college students can sign up for the unique opportunity. The registration deadline is Wednesday, March 21. Interested applicants may register online at or call the institute at 618/453-4009 for more information.

"We are excited about inspiring even more young people to get involved in public policy," institute Director Mike Lawrence said. "Indications are that we will have a substantial number of young people from throughout Illinois joining us and the outstanding speakers we have lined up."

The primary goal of Youth Government Day is to inspire high school and community college students to explore careers in government and public service. Over the years, the event has brought nearly 1,000 young people from across Illinois into direct contact with federal and state legislators, state constitutional officers, judges, lobbyists and journalists.

This year participants will get a chance to mingle with state officials Madigan and Schock. Madigan was elected to her second term as Illinois attorney general on Nov. 7, 2006, earning the largest vote total of any statewide candidate. As the state's top lawyer, Madigan has led efforts to restore integrity to gaming, safeguard children from threats over the Internet, better protect women and children from sex offenders and stop the spread of methamphetamine.

At the age of 25, Schock is the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly.

In 2001, Schock was elected a member of the his local school board in Peoria at the age of 19, defeating the incumbent school board president by a write-in vote.

Youth Government Day will also feature Luz Lopez, executive assistant to Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr., DeJuan Kea, SIUC alumnus and government relations coordinator for the Illinois Principals Association and representatives of the Mikva Challenge program, an effort to give Chicago area high school students an opportunity to participate in the democratic process.