Monday, January 20, 2014

Senator Torres encourages more young Inland Empire residents to get involved in state government

Young Senator and Capitol Fellows applications now available
Senator Norma Torres (D-Pomona) is encouraging more Inland Empire high school students and college graduates to get involved in state government. The Senator’s office announced this week it is launching a campaign to increase the number of local applicants for two prestigious California programs – The Young Senators and Capital Fellows.
The Young Senators program provides local high school juniors with an opportunity to work in the Senator’s district office and collaborate directly with her and staff on local issues. The Capital Fellows program targets college graduates interested in careers in the State Capitol.
Torres launched the campaign citing a need for more young residents in the region to get involved.
“The Inland Empire is one of the fastest growing regions in the state,” said Senator Torres. “With demand for resources growing daily, it is important that more young local residents learn about state government and how to get it to work on addressing our quality of life issues in the region.” 
Three local residents that have participated in the programs agree more local young people should consider getting involved. They see a correlation between decisions made in the State Capitol and issues that have an impact in their local community. 
Jazmine Gordon, a recent UCLA graduate from Rialto, is currently serving as a Capital Fellow in Sacramento. She sees a connection between decisions made by state government and issues that affect her hometown. She cites serving her community as a reason why she is getting involved in state policymaking through the fellows program.
“The Fellows Program is providing me with an opportunity to learn about the inner-workings of the California legislature and work directly on legislation that will impact the lives of all Californians,” said Gordon. “I hope to encourage more students from the Inland Empire to get involved in politics because it is imperative that the needs of underrepresented Californians are addressed.”
Representing the needs of Inland Empire communities also inspired Iliana Ramos of Fontana to pursue a fellowship in Torres’ legislative office. Ramos, who worked as a fellow for Torres in 2012, is currently a legislative director in the State Assembly and credits that fellowship with providing her with the opportunity to experience firsthand how the public policy-making process works.
“My desire to make a positive change in the Inland Empire community and across California motivated me to pursue a fellowship in the State Capitol,” said Ramos. “This unparalleled learning experience provides you with the skills and access to begin a life in public service and mentors who are there for you every step of the way.”
Alegria Martinez, who recently served in the Senator’s program for high school students, said the experience gave her the opportunity to work with an elected official on issues of importance to her community.  “It helped me find ways to make positive change,” said Martinez. 
Torres’ Young Senators program is open to high school juniors and the deadline to apply is January 30th. The application materials can be downloaded from the Senator’s website. College graduates interested in applying for the Capital Fellows program should submit their applications by February 10th. More information on the Capital Fellows program is available on that program’s website.

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