Teens gather at state capitol to debate and take part in mock legislative session

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POSTED: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 17, 2014 - 9:12am

Hundreds of students filed into the state capitol today for the 52nd mock legislative session. These teens come from across the state to debate bills in a real government setting.

“I have learned to expect the unexpected."

Patrick Flannigan is the governor of the Youth Legislative Program here in Louisiana.

"Everything in our lives are dictated by political decisions government controls so much of what we do which is why i do have such an interest in politics," stated Flannigan.

He spent all of his high school career in the program and says its prepared him for not only his future in politics but more importantly, life.

"I had to prepare speeches and go through interviews,” Flannigan told us. “It was a tough road."

Folasade Lapite is just another example of how a young life has changed, at such a young age.

"I feel like our government is doing well but there are places we could be better in,” said Lapite. “Having this setting is you’re really able to connect with them."

This teen has a dream to become a cardiologist. So why is she so involved? She believes her generation's voice is more important than ever, and education is a key to a successful future.

“Last year I fell so much in love with the judicial process i ran for being chef justice and I was selected by my peer sin the election and I won."

These students have been working on bills for months, now they are finally presenting, fighting, debating and challenging each one.

“A lot of the bills or the things they are presented with are things they have a close tie with which is why its important to them and why their passion is displayed when they are debating these bills,” said program Executive Director, Eddrick Martin.

Students like Flannigan who want to be in politics in the future say the perspective the public has on our youth, is less than perfect.

“People always say were uninterested but with this club it gives students the opportunity to be involved in government, to learn about issues and to register to vote."

This conference takes place all weekend. The student governor will head onto the National Youth Legislature Conference in DC, before graduation.

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