Sustainability and Youth in Government (Ohio)

At the beginning of my Junior year of high school, I decided to join an organization that involves high school students from across the state in the world of politics in the State of Ohio. This group is called Youth In Government. Also called YIG, the organization holds two conferences every year. One being in the fall, and the other in the spring. The Fall Conference is often called the Fall Leadership Conference, which takes place at a campground owned by the YMCA somewhere in the state. The Spring Conference is the much-anticipated State Assembly at the Statehouse in Columbus, where nearly 500 students attend in order to fill the role of the State’s leaders, whether it be in the Judicial branch, Legislative, or Executive.

I was in YIG junior and senior year, and both years participated in the legislative branch as a Committee Chair. I saw this organization as an amazing opportunity for me to dip my toes into the world of politics and to introduce my ideas to others.

My first year, I created a bill which would levy a tax of approximately .75% on all factories in Ohio burning more than 50% fossil fuels after a period of about one year. If you would like more information on this bill, please contact me personally. This bill passed in committee narrowly with a vote of 9 for and 7 against. The bill proceeded to the Senate floor, where it passed by a large majority. My bill made its last stop at the Youth Governor’s desk. This was the moment that drove me insane, because her cabinet was very much against this bill. I am waiting, hoping, praying, dying, crying, sweating, panting, as I am in the Senate chambers during the closing ceremony as the Youth Governor is reading off the bills that were signed. Bill after bill was read as she got closer and closer to mine. I was hoping that she wouldn’t skip over it (skipping means that it was not signed). She comes to the bill and reads it! I was the happiest person alive at that point! I have never felt more accomplished in my life!

Then, comes Senior year. I introduced a bill to promote the purchase and use of environmentally-friendly vehicles. It just so happened that I presented my bill in front of my OWN committee. I knew that I was a shoe-in, because no one was paying attention, we were running severely behind schedule, and everyone was dying to get some lunch. It passed unanimously in committee. The floor session…that is a different story. We were moved to one of the hotel conference rooms for the floor session that included my bill, because the actual chambers were being used for other sessions. My partner and I are scared to death at this point. We walk up to the front of the room, present the bill, talk about the bill, and…we open the floor for debate. We were bombarded with points of the detrimental effects that this bill would have on the economy. When that point was made, I was rearing to give this person a reality check. This bill is only a bill to promote the purchase and use of green vehicles. I don’t understand where he came up with that point. Many other points were made, and debate was closed. Voting began. The resulting outcome was debilitating. An overwhelming defeat sent my partner and I were sent to our seats with our work destroyed and our world having come crashed down.

I certainly hope that you have still have friends in high school. If so, mention this program to them. If it is not something already happening at their school, urge them to start. If you have any questions regarding the bills, please contact me personally and I would be happy to discuss them with you.

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2 comments

  1. Joshua Stickles · December 1, 2015

    I am glad that you are taking your experiences from your hometown and high school and bringing them to George Mason University. Hopefully you can take these experiences and make a career out of it.

    Like

  2. rogerwleblanc · December 3, 2015

    Dominic, thanks for this awesome blog post. It’s wonderful you were so active in environmental policy discussions in high school. You are a great speaker so I know your hard work there really made a difference.

    Like

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