A true milestone for Virginia teen Democrats and Republicans alike, this morning, our civic engagement bill, HB 1940, was reported favorably by the Virginia House of Delegates Subcommittee on Pre-K-12 Education. It will be taken up this Monday, January 18, by the full Education Committee, where we hope it will be reported to go to the entire House of Delegates.
HB 1940 would allow public middle and high school students to take an excused absence once a year to participate in a civic or political event. This civic engagement policy has been piloted in Fairfax County and has been successful in activating students to become politically involved. HB 1940 is being carried by lifelong friend of Virginia Young Democrats Del. Sam Rasoul. A bipartisan bill, HB 1940 has 10 co-patrons who are both Democrats and Republicans, making it one of the most co-patroned bills in the entire General Assembly.
In addition to testimony from our Chairman Matthew Savage, former At-Large Member of the Fairfax County School Board Ryan McElveen, who authored the policy in Fairfax County that HB 1940 is built off of, spoke in support of HB 1940. To our delight, the Recording Secretary of the Teenaged Republican Federation of Virginia (TRFV), Josh Lyon, also spoke in favor of the bill.
We are extremely excited to be working with TRFV on this bipartisan effort to provide all Virginia teens new avenues to get involved in politics, whether they be Virginia teen Democrats or Virginia teen Republicans. Especially after all the partisan gridlock and bickering we’ve seen in national politics the last week and a half, it’s refreshing to see both sides put political differences aside and work together.
It is our deep belief that if Democrats and Republicans establish a habit and routine in our teenage years of working together, that habit will continue well into adulthood and we will see less of the political violence, hatred, and divisiveness that have plagued this country over the last four years.