Youth City Council visits capital
MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant’s Youth City Council (YCC) visited the Utah State Capitol on Feb. 11 for a fun tour, visits with dignitaries and to get a close-up view of government in the state.
Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox welcomed the YCC to his office and spent time speaking with youth about his duties and responsibilities as Utah’s Lieutenant Governor. He also pointed out the art on display in his office and explained its history.
Acting as a tour guide, Cox and the group visited Governor Herbert’s office, then they toured the “Gold Room” which is only used for dignitaries and the United States president when visiting Utah. The general public can usually only look into the room, but Cox invited the YCC members to come in past the ropes and enter the room.
Lt. Governor Cox explained that part of his job is to act as the mediator between the house and the senate. Cox said that, “in Utah, 85 percent of the leaders agree on bills and in Washington only 15 percent agree.” Cox explained that this is a busy time of year as there are 500 bills on the docket to be passed between the third week in January and March 3rd.
The YCC tour group was impressed with Cox, who was kind and made each member of the group feel important and special. Even though he was quite busy, he made the YCC feel like their time with him was just as important.
When Cox’s staff summoned him off to continue with his important meetings that day, he had to leave, but the YCC members will remember what they learned and how he made them feel.
Utah House of Representatives Republican politician Ken Ivory, who represents District 47, then greeted the YCC group. Ivory related stories showing how one person can make a difference. He told about how a 15-year-old youth changed a law.
Ivory and his staff welcomed the group, took the time to make the YCC feel important, and gave them a further tour of the Capital. In addition to other places in the Capital, the group toured the basement to see how the whole building was raised during its renovation.
While on the tour, the YCC entered House of Representatives while in was in session and the room was packed. It was interesting to view the government in action. Later after the session had ended, the YCC youth actually went onto the floor of the house, where many interesting facts where presented to the group.
During the tour, the YCC also was greeted by Representative Derrin Owens who represents District 58. Owens was happy to see visitors from Sanpete County and spoke with the group and with Representative Ivory.
In addition, the YCC tour groups also met with Lobbyist Renae Cowley, who shared interesting information with the youth and explained how she only has two minutes outside the house to lobby, or pitch, for a bill.
She explained that lobbyists are not allowed inside, so while the representatives are in session, she sends in notes to various persons she would like to speak with and asks them to come out into the hall.
Cowley said a person doesn’t have to be a lawyer to be a lobbyist. The youth did notice that a lobbyist would have to talk fast.
It was a great day to visit the capital and the YCC youth learned from the experience. The youth were asked to share what their favorite experience was and here are their comments:
YCC Mayor Ally Brotherson said that, “Everyone we visited with loved what they did and genuinely cared for the people they were serving and representing. They stressed the importance that, just because we are young doesn’t mean that we can’t have a voice and make a difference.”
Abigail Clawson said that, “Everyone at the capitol was genuinely excited we were there and were willing to talk with us. They explained things to us in amazing ways and cared about helping us as individuals.”
Samma Hannon said, “Hearing about the ‘Gold Room’ and how bills are passed,” was interesting to her. According to Lucy Quinn, “My favorite part of the tour,” she said, “was how the Lieutenant Governor and several other important people found us important enough to talk to us. Even though it was during the busiest time of the year, they still found time to talk to a youth city council from a small town.”
“It was really interesting to meet all the different people,” said Scott Shock, “and learn about all the different jobs and responsibilities in the capitol.” Devin Palmer stated that, “I liked when Lt. Governor Spencer Cox walked us around and told us the significance of all the memoirs around his office and the rest of the capitol.”
Coleen Oltrogge, advisor to the YCC, expressed that she is proud of these youth and was happy that they represented Mt. Pleasant City well to some of the Utah State leaders.
Oltrogge related that an intern who works for Representative Ivory was impressed by the YCC group and encouraged the youth to consider becoming an intern. The youth could see how busy the intern was and how much work there was to accomplish.
As a final note, Oltrogge says, “I can’t imagine any of these youth not being successful at whatever they wish to do. Their parents can be proud, as well as Mt. Pleasant’s mayor and city council, who sponsored the trip. The youth represented the city well and Mt. Pleasant can be proud and hopeful for the future.”