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July 26 10:33 AM

2013-2014 Legislative Youth Advisory Council begins work

Members of the 2013-2014 Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) began work this month with a special two-day leadership and issues seminar at the State Capitol. The new members will work together over the next year in an effort to influence the legislative process by addressing issues affecting Louisiana's youth. The council, overseen by the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education, is a yearly appointed body composed entirely of students from all over Louisiana.

Now in its sixth year, LYAC facilitates communication between youth, the legislature and key state officials by giving students the unique opportunity to access the workings of state government. LYAC members will have the opportunity to study and address issues of importance to young people, including prayer in schools, education, community service, health and physical fitness, strategies for increasing youth participation and access to local and state governmental services, underage drinking, litter and environmental control, and various other issues.

Members of the council are selected from a wide pool of applicants from around the state who display a strong interest in civic involvement. Two student members serve from each of the congressional districts (12 members) and nine additional members are selected as at-large members. Additional participants are chosen as alternate members of the council. The members must be between the ages of 14 and 19 and enrolled in a public or private high school or participate in a home study program.

"LYAC provides an excellent opportunity to hear the voices and views of the millennial generation. Their knowledge of the legislative process and feedback on prevalent policy issues is impressive and insightful," says Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston Broome.

It is a sentiment shared by state Rep. Ted James, who also works closely with LYAC students on issues and legislation. "I consider it a learning opportunity each time I meet with the Legislative Youth Advisory Council. Their energy is contagious. The young people ask tough questions and their excitement about not only their future, but the future of our state is unbelievable. Like the LYAC students, my interest in government began in high school, and I truly believe that these students are the future lawmakers of our state. I am looking forward to working with the group throughout the year and hopefully file legislation on their behalf in the 2014 regular session."

The newly selected members of LYAC are:

Joshua R. Bertalotto, Avoyelles Public Charter School Caroline Campbell, Baton Rouge Magnet High School Sarah Chestnut, Weston High School Alisha Chowdhury, Haynes Academy Elijah Evans, Comeaux High School Amelia Fertitta, Captain Shreve High School Patrick Flanigan, Mandeville High School Jacob Foreman, LA School for Math, Science and the Arts Morgan-Me'Lyn Grant, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Kyle Alexander Hamer, Lafayette High School Hira Hasan, Dutchtown High School Sarah Catherine LaBorde, Holy Savior Menard Central High School Stephanie Lutfallah, Alexandria Senior High School C. Jefferson Manning III, St. Frederick High School Maxwell Martin McKinley, Senior High School Wallace Myers, Bethel Christian School Shelby Paine, Captain Shreve High School Annslee Perego, Bolton High School Joel Ramirez-Cedeno, Hahnville High School Madeleine Richard, LSU Laboratory School Allison Waddell, Captain Shreve High School

Alternate members are as follows:

Beverly Brown, St. Scholastica Academy Bradley Petras, Northshore High School Lily Moret-Kittok, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Grace E. Bridges, Benjamin Franklin High School Jarrett Nunez, Grand Lake High School Austin Gaspard, Kaplan High School Aislinn Kimbrough, Benton High School Logan Sepulvado, Zwolle High School Jacob Hall, Ouachita Christian School Camille Faircloth, Pineville High School Derek Brondum, Vandebilt Catholic High School Christian Batarsen, Bethany Christian School Haillie Bowles, Episcopal School of Acadiana Walker Bright, Metairie Park Country Day School Samantha Eroche, E.D. White Catholic High School Nicholas Juarez, Lafayette High School Otha Nelson, The Dunham School Abigail Welch, Hathaway High School Reagan Woodard, C.E. Byrd High School Mark Mallory, Lafayette High School Alex Roberson, La. School for Math, Science & Arts Austin Wendt, St. Michael the Archangel High School

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