Maine student panelists and peers from Alaska and Oregon presented the “Supporting Youth Leaders” workshop at the 2024 League of Women Voters (LWV) National Convention, June 27-30 in Washington, D.C.

Lianna Holden, 18, Lewiston, Alex Wu, 17, Scarborough, and Maya Eichorn, 19, Kennebunk, helped answer recruitment and retention questions, shared what LWVME’s Youth Council members do, how they address challenges and the larger impacts of their civic work with a 90-member audience.

“We stayed 15 minutes longer to answer questions,” said Holden, “so we know our presentation got other leagues interested in starting youth councils.”

It was Holden’s first visit to a city she “always idolized.” Her highlight was meeting with staff in the offices of Sen. Angus King (I), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) and Rep. Jared Golden (D) where the teens lobbied on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and GOSAFE Act.

“It was a completely different experience from lobbying legislators at the state level, where you’re trying to grab their attention in hallways for the quickest piece of time you can,” she said. “It was great to express our feelings to knowledgeable staff and know that what we said would reach our representatives and senator.”

Holden is a 2024 graduate of Freeport High School and founded its Students Demand Action chapter. She interned both junior and senior year with LWVME and co-founded its Youth Advocacy Team, which tracks bills of interest in the state legislature and gives testimonies. She was also a member of its Gun Safety Subcommittee. Holden will be a freshman at Pomona College in Claremont, California, this fall.

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