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Chatting with Ken Bone

Ken Bone is a coal power plant operator from Illinois. He gained instant popularity after asking a question at the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Since then, Bone has worked to demilitarize unproductive and divisive political discussion in the United States by advocating for bipartisanship and political unity.

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NGP’s First Year—A Reflection

By Ryan Adell, NGP Founder/Executive Director – Jan. 22, 2018

 

 

Next Generation Politics officially launched in January of 2017. We started with a basic Weebly website, a disorganized GroupMe chat, and a few high school chapters scattered around New York. Today, thanks to word-of-mouth, social media and lots of emails, NGP has over 1,000 members and 50 chapters across 15 states and 4 countries, with the majority of chapters taking the form of chartered school clubs in high schools.

We’ve made a footprint on social media, with 22K Facebook likes, 3K Twitter Followers and 1.8K Instagram followers, and our Blog, with over 25K subscribers, continues to grow, boasting contributors with views so varying that they definitely break the confines of the “political spectrum.”

But it all started when NGP hosted its first event one year ago: a debate—the electoral college vs. the popular vote—held at the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York.

We quickly identified a major flaw in the debate’s structure: it was engineered to expose disagreement between two distinct viewpoints and offered no opportunity to reconcile those viewpoints. During the debate, it was deemed a sign of weakness to concede to another debater’s point of view in hopes of finding some level of common ground—you’d be ostracized by the people on your side. That’s not too far off from how our government operates today.

So we restructured our events to actually promote the values of our mission: bipartisanship and civic engagement. Our roundtable discussions, town halls, and Blog all function to create compromise and to uncover the common hopes for the future of government among Generation Z that transcend geography, religion, race, and partisanship.

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NGP Hosts a Town Hall on Education Policy with Five Elected Officials in North Babylon, NY

BY: MATT PECORARO

In the midst of a blizzard, the North Babylon High School Chapter of NGP held a Town Hall attended by New York State Senator Phil Boyle, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer, North Babylon School Board President Robert Scheid, and North Babylon School Board Trustee John Schneidawin on Friday, December 15, 2017, with the topic of the event being education. Members of the chapter and students of the high school filled the North Babylon Public Library for the event, with some there to satisfy their existing interest government and politics, some to try something new, and, at first, some to receive the extra credit offered by the high school’s social studies department for attending.  

The night started with an introduction to the event by the event coordinator and NGP Chapter Leader, Matthew Pecoraro.  Following general guidelines about how and when questions will be asked and a brief thank you toward everyone who helped facilitate the event, the town hall began with introductions from each of the elected officials.  At length in these introductions, each elected official described their personal involvement in education policy and views about topics of political contention, notably among them the funding principle that New York State has employed and past experiences with how schools function.  After this period, the questions began.

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Texas NGP Chapter runs workshop at local middle school

BY: CHRISTIAN VILLARREAL

On December 7, 2017, the Rio Grande Valley Texas Chapter held an event at Vela Middle School in Harlingen Texas. Chapter members visited the  middle school to discuss the mission and values of Next Generation Politics with students and to run a workshop on how to properly, and holistically, learn about “the issues.”

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Wood River High School Chapter discusses net neutrality

BY: GRACIE DOYLE

A day before the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, the Wood River High School chapter of NGP held a round-table discussion to deliberate the pros and cons of net neutrality. Members researched both benefits and drawbacks regarding the repeal of net neutrality, which led to a lively, productive discussion. Chapter members discussed their views along with ways to make their voices heard, such as contacting local representatives or utilizing social media. Overall, the discussion was leaning against the repeal of net neutrality. However, members brought up many great points on both sides, making this event a success!  

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NGP Town Hall with former Congressman Israel

 

On December 11th, 2017, over sixty NGP members from across Long Island and New York City gathered at the South Huntington Public Library for a Next Generation Politics Town Hall with former Congressman Steve Israel.

Congressman Israel is the former United States Representative for New York’s third congressional district, serving in Congress from 2001 to 2007. He is the former head of messaging for the House Democratic Caucus with a history of bipartisan efforts. Israel is the author of The Global War on Morris and Big Guns; in 2017, he joined CNN as a political commentator and began his work as Chairman of the LIU Global Institute.

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California NGP holds meeting with Congressman Ro Khanna

BY: SHREEYA ARANAKE

On Dec. 2, 2017, the Milpitas High School chapter of NGP held a meeting with Rep. Ro Khanna of California’s 17th district. Attending members spread NGPs mission of civic engagement and bipartisanship to the Congressman and identified several points of potential collaboration. Additionally, several issues were discussed, ranging from bipartisanship in Congress, civic engagement among youth, the 2020 Democratic ticket, sexual harassment, and Obama/Trump voter demographics. 

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Phoenix Country Day School Chapter hosts forum with Arizona Senate member Kate Brophy McGee

PCDS Next Generation Politics Chapter Meeting with Arizona Senator Kate Brophy McGee, November 30, 2017, 4-5PM

Earlier this week, the Phoenix Country Day School Chapter of Next Generation Politics met with Arizona Senate member Kate Brophy McGee for a student forum. Having heard from a Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives at its last event, the chapter decided to expose its members to new perspectives, this time meeting with a Republican member of the Arizona Senate. Answers to some of the chapter’s questions to the Senator are below.

[Note: All notes are paraphrased except where quoted.]

Question: What’s been your experience in political transition from the Arizona House to the Senate?

Answer: It was a huge culture change.  Everything in the Senate moves more slowly, but the people there are much more experienced.  The House is much more chaotic and lends itself to “ramble-style operations.”   The one good thing I found out right away: The Senate is not much into “speechifying,” while the House could go for hours and hours.  

Question: Are party lines more defined in the House?

Answer: The Senate seems more collegial.  As a moderate Republican,

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Massac County High School, IL, talk Immigration Policy

BY: HATTIE THOMASSON

Massac County High School’s chapter of Next Generation Politics has quickly thrived and gained upwards of 20 members since starting in September of 2017. Massac’s most recent meeting was held on November 30. The discussion was both informative – for students who did not have much knowledge on the issues – and deliberative for students who already held particular viewpoints.

Massac County High School’s latest meeting covered the topic of immigration.  Students were asked to prepare a bill, law, or even a simple idea on how to solve the current immigration problem that America is facing.  During the meeting, three key questions were asked to solve this issue: “What is the problem?”, “What is a solution?”, and “What will happen to the current illegal immigrants?”

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NGP Chapter in Brooklyn continues to thrive. Here’s how they do it:

BY: SHAMMY SANDHU

Next Generation Politics at Brooklyn’s largest public high school – Fort Hamilton High School – can be perfectly described in two words: engaging and hectic. Every Monday, club meetings are organized and draw in more than 40 members, making it one of the largest student-run organizations in a school of 4000. These meetings usually last for 45 minutes and range from raising awareness about human rights violations (both domestic and international) to holding debates and discussions on controversial issues.

No matter what the topic is, the role of the club’s Executive Board is simply to serve as a mediator of the discussion. E-Board members only introduce topics and facilitate the exchange of ideas – especially ideas that disagree – because this is the best way for members to gain insight on the perspectives of others and become more open-minded. Expectedly, when these debates revolve around particularly controversial issues (such as abortion or police brutality) they can often become incredibly heated. It’s at this point that the club’s advisor, Mr. Randazzo, intervenes and sorts things out between members in a manner that promotes understanding. In addition, he helps by introducing facts that gauge members’ attention.

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