In an effort to get students more active in their government, State Senator Bill Diamond (D-Windham) is leading a new initiative for the youth of Maine called Youth Caucus, Inc.

Diamond says of the new organization, “Youth Caucus, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, statewide effort to introduce Maine’s students, all public schools, private schools, and the home-schooled to the legislative process.”

Diamond says he has long wanted to see more youth involvement in the legislative and state government process. The first chapter of the Youth Caucus will be at Windham High School. This group has already met three times so far this year, has elected officers and is set to present an “after-deadline bill” request to the Legislative Council. A simple majority of Legislative Council members approving acceptance of the bill request will allow the bill to be referred to a legislative committee for public hearing.

“The Youth Caucus will give our students “on-the-job training” as they learn the day-to-day legislative process,” Diamond said. “An educated public can have an immense and profound impact on state government. I am very excited about watching these young people learn how to function at the legislative level and realize the fruits of the efforts.”

Other local representatives including Representative Mark Bryant (D-Windham), Representative Gary Plummer (R-Windham) and Representative Gary Moore (R-Standish) are on board with the initiative as well.

“We feel strongly that as representatives of the people, legislators have the responsibility to share the knowledge gained about the legislative process with the public,” Plummer said.

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“We need to begin with our student population so that by the time they are ready to vote and become productive citizens they will have gained a working knowledge of how the process works,” Bryant added.

The long-term goal of the Youth Caucus is to take the caucus statewide. Once the Windham chapter is fully established, Diamond looks forward to bringing the Youth Caucus to Bonny Eagle High School in Standish. From there, the four legislators will, over time, introduce the concept to other schools.

“Eventually, we hope that students from all geographic areas of the state will, in time, choose to become members of the Youth Caucus,” Moore said.

“With the right tools, every citizen can make a difference,” Diamond said.

The Senator recently filed papers with the Secretary of State’s Office, which is now incorporated as “Youth Caucus, Inc.” Previously, while he was Secretary of State, Diamond started several youth involvement programs, including “Citizen Bee” and “Youth Vote.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about Youth Caucus, Inc. should contact Diamond’s office at 287-1532.


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