By: Mary Virginia Huffaker
The 2020 Alabama Youth Legislature Conference began this morning with the Opening Session where several officers expressed their excitement for the start of debate. Delegates watched a live-streamed zoom video as they heard from Lieutenant Governor Josh Phillips, Youth Governor Ryan Barranco, Secretary of State Stella Ross, Chief Justice Samad Gallani, First Year Presiding Officer Jeffrey Ford, and Speaker of the House Lindsey Tadlock.
Youth Governor Barranco began his speech by expressing his excitement for delegates coming together to partake in lively but civil debate. Barranco then credited his introduction to the Youth Legislature and the passion for it to former Youth Governor Claudia Hubbard. Barranco urged delegates to put personal political beliefs behind them and to come together as Alabamians saying that the best part of Youth Legislature is the people you meet and what you learn from them. Barranco closed by emphasizing his eagerness for the start of debate.
Sam Adams, the conference director, addressed delegates next, beginning by highlighting how this year’s conference is the first statewide virtual conference. Sam challenged delegates to follow three pieces of advice. The first being “be kind.” Mr. Adams urged delegates to practice civility when debating bills. The next piece of advice was “pay attention.” He highlighted the importance of listening to what is said and what is happening, saying this conference isn’t just about what you learn, but also what you can give to others. Lastly, Mr. Sam charged delegates to be involved. With debate and social time being online, it is easy to get distracted. It is incredibly important to reach out and make sure you end the conference with no regrets.
Chambers convened at 10 AM, officially starting the 2020 Youth Legislature Conference. Good luck delegates! As Governor Barranco said, “get YIGgy with it.”