Pulling youth into politics – QNS.com

Pulling youth into politics

LaGuardia graduate John Bravo DeMicoli wanted to know if the federal government would help ease the burden of student loans. Giuseppe DeCaro asked how the city’s anti-terror program compared to those across the nation, and if extra attention should be placed on Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs.
Both questions were among a dozen posed to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during an iChat, the day after President George Bush’s State of the Union address. The event, hosted by youth-aimed non-profit Generation Engage, brought together a handful of LaGuardia Community College students interactively with counterparts in North Carolina and Virginia.
The iChat - and screening of the State of the Union address in Manhattan the night before - marked the official launch of Generation Engage. Co-founder Justin Rockefeller, 26, son of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, hosted the New York forum.
With 17,000 members along the East Coast, Generation Engage brought together 900 people - about 700 college-age young people and 200 teachers - to watch the State of the Union. Rockefeller said that the non-profit hopes to spark youth involvement in politics by registered young voters and organizing civic engagement.
After a speech by Gingrich about finding a life passion, students asked the Republican leader questions on issues ranging from the culture of corruption in politics to the nation’s energy crisis to wire tapping.
“For most Americans, the right to say ‘One nation under God’ is a reassurance,” Gingrich said in response to a question on whether religion should be separated from government procedures.
Gingrich said that the college-age students were at the “edge of the new world of science and technology” and challenged the young people to educate themselves and work hard to achieve their dreams.
Following the iChat, Queens students posed questions to Councilman Eric Gioia about more local issues. Gioia reminded students that one of the best ways to get their opinions heard was to register to vote and become involved in local politics.

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