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Published August 05, 2013, 10:03 AM

Student press for youth city council in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Some high school students in Duluth want a voice in the future direction of the city.

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Some high school students in Duluth want a voice in the future direction of the city.

High school junior Sydney Nelson and a group of her friends want the local leaders to create another city council whose members are young people.

"I think it would encourage young people to pay more attention to what's going on in the city. We want to lend our voices to the discussion, because what happens in Duluth affects us all," Nelson said.

Paul Manning, Nelson's classmate at Duluth East and president of the local chapter of Youth in Government at the Duluth YMCA, said the idea has been gaining traction. The students have been meeting with city staff and elected officials about the proposal.

"The response we have gotten so far has been really positive," he said.

City Councilor Patrick Boyle tells the Duluth News Tribune he supports the efforts to create a youth council. Boyle says feedback is needed from students on a variety of things, including the operation of city parks, recreation programs and libraries.

"What these young people are doing gives me optimism for the future," he said. "I view this as an opportunity to help groom the next generation of city councilors."

City Councilor Emily Larson suggested youth representatives could be appointed by the mayor or by individual councilors. High school students could submit applications to become candidates.

The proposed youth council would have no powers to legislate or enact new city policies on its own, but would instead serve in an advisory role. An ordinance would have to be drafted to create the youth council, a public hearing on the proposal will need to be held, and the ordinance will need to be read twice publicly before the City Council prior to a vote, city officials said.

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