Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Remarks for YMCA Youth Legislature
March 5, 2003

Thanks Sam.

Good morning everyone.

It is always an honor to address the YMCA Youth Legislature.

It is often said that what we do today, we do for future generations.

As a father, I know that’s true.

I always think of Emily and Dylan when I have to act upon legislation.

I can’t help but look beyond the immediate issues and current concerns.

I think about my own children, and all the people who will come after my generation—people like you.

When I was your age it never occurred to me that I would serve in state government.

When I first came here to Olympia, I suddenly realized that legislators were just ordinary people like me.

I looked around and saw teachers, fire fighters, business owners and house wives and house dads.

That was empowering.

It made me see that I could come here to work to improve the lives of the citizens of Washington State.

It’s clear that you are all a little quicker than I was.

Your youth governor rose to the office a few decades ahead of me!

If there is one thing I want you to take home with you, it is that we live in the greatest nation that ever was.

And that anyone can make a difference.

Take a look around you and you will see the future of Washington State.

The motto of the Youth Legislature is “Democracy must be learned by future generations”.

Over two thousand years ago, a humble idea called Democracy rose out of the Greek Islands.

Ever since then, we’ve worked to make democracy better and government fairer for the next generation.

Our democracy has evolved over time because of young people like you.

People who have sought to learn how the system works.

People who have used that knowledge to make it work better.

We are fortunate indeed to live in a country where any individual can participate in government.

There are people your age around the world, desperate for a chance to make a difference.

And, sometimes, dying for a chance to make a difference.

You have that chance, and your participation in this program shows that you take that opportunity seriously.

I am proud of you for that.

I commend all of you for participating in the YMCA Youth Legislature.

I hope your experiences here have given you some insight into how government works.

And some ideas on how to improve it!

I hope some of you pursue the path of public service further.

We need people like you to advance our great democracy, one step and one law at a time.

I encourage you to get out in the world, and make the difference that you can make.

And who knows?

One of you may someday stand where I am standing, telling a group of bright young people how you became Governor!

Thank you for participating in this program, and good luck in your future endeavors.

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