Folks, listen to this young man

Last week, News Lifestyles editor Darby Hinkley introduced us to Liam Dreyer, a Charlevoix teen who travels around Michigan, urging young people to get involved in local government.

The 16-year-old founded Government for Tomorrow, a nonprofit that urges the creation of non-voting student representation on local government boards. He spoke recently to Alpena Community College students, the Alpena Municipal Council, and the Alpena Downtown Development Authority board, among other agencies, about his work.

We love the idea of student representation on local government boards, be they city councils, township boards, county boards, school boards, DDA boards, planning commissions, or any other place where adults make decisions that will affect our young people long into their future.

According to the United States Election Project only about half of eligible 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2020 election, and that was that age group’s best showing in any election since at least 1986, a midterm contest in which only 20% of young people voted.

That age group has had the lowest turnout of any age group each and every election.

We find that discouraging, because young people will have to live with the fallout of today’s political decisions long after older folks have moved on. They’ll have to pay for the government programs implemented today and the debt our government’s take on.

They ought to have a say in those decisions. Our elected officials need to hear them.

Groups like Dreyer’s could go a long way toward accomplishing that. Not only would our mayors, township supervisors, and county board chairmen hear directly from the young people in our community, but, hopefully, those young people might get inspired to stay involved as they reach voting age and inspire their peers to get involved, too.



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