(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Bryan Terry, MD, is looking to spark more youth involvement in politics. To do so, he has partnered with students at Central Magnet School to co-sponsor legislation this session. Mr. Allen Nichols instructs a class at Central Magnet entitled “Contemporary Issues”. The class focuses on teaching students about the Constitution, as well as, debating current topics and issues.
One of the assignments for the students was to volunteer on a political campaign. “Before school started, several of the students helped during my primary. When classes began, students were asked, as an assignment, to volunteer on various campaigns. I had probably twenty or so Central Magnet students get involved in my campaign in some capacity,” said Terry.
After the campaign, Terry thought about how he could pay back Nichols and his students, as well as, get them further involved in the legislative process. Terry reached out to Nichols with the idea of presenting the class with some legislative ideas that he looked to sponsor. If the Contemporary Issues classes could debate the issues and choose a topic, then Terry would sponsor or co-sponsor the legislation and keep the class up to date on the legislation.
“I have the pleasure of teaching high school seniors contemporary issues. In our class, students get involved in citizenship by volunteering for local campaigns and simulating legislative sessions over real proposed bills. This year has been most exciting with an election and a new legislative session for the Tennessee General Assembly,” said Nichols. “Students enthusiastically debated several bills that are being brought up in Nashville. As a result of our class time devoted to current legislation, these students are more in tune to proposals that will have an impact on them and their families. While they had differing views from across the political spectrum, students appreciated the opportunity and are already seeking new opportunities for additional bills.”
In deference to the class and Nichols, Terry said he would not make public the students’ choice nor their comments.
“There was spirited debate on the issues with one topic appearing to generate an overwhelming positive response. As the legislation goes through the process, I will keep Mr. Nichols and the class informed on the status of the bill,” said Terry. “As legislators, we must reach out to the youth and encourage their involvement in government. Article one, section one of the Tennessee Constitution says that the power is inherent in the people. It is one of my goals to help empower constituents and the youth through self-governance. I appreciate their enthusiasm and participation.”
The Tennessee General Assembly’s regular session begins on February 9 with the bill filing deadline set for February 12.