I am pleased to welcome you to Salem and the State Capitol for the Oregon YMCA Youth and Government model legislature.
You are participating in a valuable learning experience that will give you skills to make you better students, leaders and citizens.
During this model legislature you will learn about the process of government and have a chance to meet in committees to discuss, debate and move forward on a wide range of issues that are also currently being legislated in Salem.
While you are participating in this process you must remember to honestly evaluate your opinions about the measures you are considering. Leadership includes having to make hard decisions, even if when they don’t make you the most popular person in the room. Negotiation and compromise are important skills, as is an understanding that Oregonians are directly impacted by the decisions made in the legislature.
Your participation in this model legislature is one way you can begin to impact your community. There are so many ways to give back to your local community and to our state. It may be politics, it may be business, it may be other avenues of public service, but the key is remaining connected and involved in our communities and Oregon as a whole.
I hope you are inspired to continue working in public service and to appreciate each experience you have as a chance to learn something new. I hope to see some of you back here in the years to come working with or in our state government.