Voices of the Future


Jillian Barker

Members of IYC gather in celebration of legislation passed early in the day.

The Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) held a special congressional session on Nov. 7 in a bid to bring more voice to the youth of Iowa. The program helps bring together youth across the state and teach about the state government, advocacy and political action. Out of the 87 active members, six participants are from Kennedy.

With politics becoming mainstream, many young Iowans wish to get involved. The state-run program provides opportunities for its members to voice their opinions and push for direct change across the state. Participants work together to form a position statement which is voted on by IYC. If passed, these positions have a chance to eventually become bills in the Iowa congress. For some members, these bills can be a personal enterprise.

“I know all of us have some sort of passion that we like to speak up for, and IYC gives you not only the opportunity to explore that passion, but also turn it into a political action that will benefit our fellow youth… What I’ve enjoyed the most is the sense of purpose I developed while working on our potential bill,” said junior Isabella Rodriguez.

Two of the position statements passed at the mock congress session focused on the enforcement of school voter registration and expansion of education on contraceptive practices. However, before moving to the Iowa Congress they need to be refined into proper bills.

Participant junior Safal Bhattararai, who was a key figure in helping pass the contraceptive education position statement, describes his thoughts about IYC.

“I decided to join Iowa Youth Congress to further my leadership and advocacy experiences… The commitment and passion I have to make sure we reach a measurable success is… driving me for this goal,” said Bhattararai.

Since the 2020 election, polls have shown a new boost in youth activity in politics within Iowa. This trend has appeared on a national scale with massive young voter turnout. The youth driving IYC are very direct about their desire to bring Iowa change.

“What I hope to accomplish by being in IYC is to grow as both a person and an advocate. I hope that by the end of the program I will feel empowered to speak against any injustice,” said Rodriguez. “After just a few months I already feel that value growing in me.”