From the Hill

Ross Seidman
October 10, 2013

Last week marked my 24th meeting on the Hill with Congressional offices lobbying for the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

The past couple of months have been a blur since taking over as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Campaign and the experience has been one of a kind. Beyond the importance of creating a direct outlet for the 104 million young Americans to have their voices heard in government, working on the Campaign itself is the type of real experience that most people our age search for.

Over the course of those 24 meetings, there have been a number of interesting reactions from staffers, but the most common one is surprise; specifically that someone still in college is setting up meetings to lobby members on the Hill by themselves. While most staffers appreciate meeting with a young person on an issue that they have never heard of, very few write off the Campaign because we are young.

That’s exactly why the Campaign is such an incredible project – it’s entirely youth conceptualized and implemented. I’m lucky enough to be working with a team of exceedingly distinguished young people developing the legislative and grassroots strategy to make the dream of a Presidential Youth Council real, but none of us are exceptions. There are over 400 local, state, Congressional, non-profit and corporate youth councils who are impacting their communities in ways that almost no one expects because of our age.

What sets the Campaign apart is our luck in finding a champion on the Hill like Congressman John Larson (D-CT). Over the past two Congresses he has introduced resolutions in support of the establishment of a Presidential Youth Council that have quickly been gaining support and momentum. The resolution in the 113th Congress, H.J.Res. 68, was introduced on Monday, September 30th with 16 additional original cosponsors.

This is a growth from the seven total cosponsors of the resolution in the 112th Congress and we are only in the beginning stages of our lobbying efforts. We were extremely grateful that Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) also signed on as an original cosponsor this Congress, making the resolution officially bipartisan from the start.

The resolution has added language to make it as bipartisan as possible, including that it is entirely privately funded and would consistof 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans appointed by the leadership in each party. With no addition to the federal budget and the creation of a direct voice for young people to impact youth related policy issues, the Resolution should reach our goal of 100 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

While the government shutdown has created a bit of a setback coming out of the gate on the Hill, we are using this time to focus on mobilizing our grassroots support. If you haven’t done so already, please write your Representative via POPVOX and call their DC office in support of H.J.Res. 68.


Learn more about the bipartisan House resolution and how to get involved >>

Ross Seidman is a junior at the University of Maryland studying Government and Politics. He is member of the Youth Working Group to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and former member of Youth Service America's Board of Directors and Youth Council. He joined the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council in August as the Director of Legislative Affairs.