Members of the city’s Youth Advisory Commission are pushing teens to get involved in politics ahead of the November 2020 election through a dedicated outreach group and planned youth town hall with local elected officials.
Shannon Tyler, a senior at Loveland High School and secretary of the commission, said she and other commission members — including Olivia Friske, Daniel Lange, Emma Liakas, Aidan Magruder, Eloise Nelson and Autumn Zhou — formed the Political Education Subcommittee earlier this year after identifying outreach as one of their annual priorities.
While many of the youths they aim to reach won’t be old enough to vote this fall, Tyler said the subcommittee members hope to demystify local politics and make civic participation a habit for their peers.
“We’ve wanted to do more outreach and be the bridge between the youth in our community and council members,” she said. “We want the youth to get interested in politics, so when the time comes, they feel good about making their voices heard.”
Loveland’s Youth Advisory Commission advises the City Council on issues affecting young people — recently, members spoke during a council study session on youth vaping — with membership open to Thompson School District students and Loveland residents under the age of 21.
In addition to working on a guide for young voters, the Colorado Youth Voting Guide, Tyler said the subcommittee is planning a remote town hall at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 with the mayor and council members.
She said Mayor Jacki Marsh and councilors Andrea Samson of Ward II, John Fogle of Ward III and Dave Clark of Ward IV have all agreed to attend, and that they are waiting to hear back from the office of Sen. Michael Bennet.
The group avoided inviting politicians who are seeking reelection this year, Tyler said, to preserve its nonpartisan focus. Colorado State University political science professor Matthew Hitt will also join the group to provide “an educator’s perspective,” Tyler said.
She said the details of how to join the town hall will be announced by the city in the coming weeks, as it will include more than two council members, as it will be publicized through local schools and the commission’s Instagram, @LovelandYAC.
While young people are the intended audience and will be encouraged to submit questions, any interested members of the public will be welcome to watch.
“We want anyone who is interested to listen in,” she said.