Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Senate Youth Program

Sen. Harry Reid

legislator photo

Mr. President, I rise today to honor the achievements of the U.S. Senate Youth Program, USSYP, an organization that has molded some of our Nation's brightest students to become the next generation of public servants.

This year marks 50 years of a commitment to educate and nurture talented young leaders interested in serving their communities. The USSYP hails from a strong family that valued bipartisanship and democratic lawmaking. William Randolph Hearst's sons, George R. Hearst and Randolph A. Hearst, envisioned this program and brought it to life with the collaboration of then-Senators Tom Kuchel, R CA, Mike Mansfield, D MT, Everett Dirksen, R Ill., and Hubert Humphrey, D MN.

The USSYP was created by S. Res. 324 in 1962 ``to increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.''

I would also like to commend the State departments of education across the country that select the outstanding students each year and the Department of Defense, which provides competitively selected military officers from every service branch to serve as guides and mentors to the students during the program. The Hearst Foundations have continued to administer and fund the program since inception, including college scholarships for each student given with the encouragement to continue their studies in history and government.

This year, 104 impressive student delegates were selected because of their outstanding leadership abilities and volunteer work by the chief educational officer from each State to travel to Washington and serve as young ``senators'' from their respective States for 1 week. They will keep a busy schedule attending meetings and briefings with Senators and congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of Cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States, and top members of the national media.

The USSYP has a proud roster of more than 5,000 alumni of the program who continue to use the skills they learned from their experience as delegates and many of whom have become public servants.

I am proud to serve as an honorary cochair of the program, and I send my best wishes to each of the students selected to represent their States during Washington Week. I especially send my sincere congratulations to the two Nevada delegates, Daniel Waqar of Las Vegas and Benjamin Link of Eureka.