Wow! Thanks for coming to the 72nd Alabama Youth Legislature! I’ve been floored by the quality of work I’ve seen you put into your bills, and I’m really looking forward to seeing everything else you accomplish this weekend.
This program bridges the gaps and divides we so often observe in the outside world. It has helped me become dear friends with people who profoundly disagree with me on any number of issues. Additionally, Youth Legislature connects us with people from polar opposite backgrounds in every corner of our state. If asked to describe the setup of this conference from afar, I would probably tell you it was going to be a disaster, the place would fall into discord and we’d all draw ourselves into small ideological corners. Yet time and time again, the sheer quality, integrity, and kindness of every participant has managed to shine through and prove doubters wrong.
Youth Legislature is not amazing because it brings together like-minded people; rather, this conference is amazing because it brings radically unlike-minded people together. With that in mind, I encourage you to express yourself and your opinions this weekend. Never be afraid to raise your placard because when someone decides not to speak out of fear or lack of confidence, we all lose. We all lose the depth of that person’s perspective, opinions and hopes. More than anything else, those qualities and beliefs are what can be truly transformative.
So thank you. Thank you for being here, thank you for caring and thank you for having fun. If you ever need anything don’t be afraid to reach out to me, the Cabinet or any of the other officers, because, ultimately, you’re the ones who matter, and we’re just here for the ride.