On Thursday night, just hours in to Model Assembly, the youth Governor and Lieutenant Governor did something different. They released their platform. This has never been done before in the Minnesota Youth in Government program, and it was an interesting turn of events for the media branches. The platform, while quite short and to the point, laid out Gov. Yablonsky and Lt. Gov. Blake’s vision, and the main issues they are supporting through Model Assembly. Their vision was stated as “We urge the legislators of the great State of Minnesota to pass legislation that benefits our society as a whole and allows all within it to flourish.” After the initial surprise of the platform, Yablonsky and Blake held a press conference late Thursday night.
Yablonsky and Blake stated that they want their opinions to be heard by the legislation, but the pair are undecided on issues that are not mentioned in their platform. In a second press conference Friday morning, Yablonsky explained further by saying that their goal is to handle issues on a bill by bill basis, instead of on a larger, generalized level. This idea of creating a system where everyone feels supported and included has the potential to have great success, but there is an uneasy vagueness on the topics they support. The platform states that they are in support of:
• Increased funding to all areas of education
• Emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation of criminals
• The concept of a free market with reasonable regulations
• Reasonable regulations of firearms
• Strong enforcement of environmental programs that provide for healthy surroundings and for sustainable, long term use of natural resources.
While the statements themselves are straightforward, and uncomplicated, there are not any details included. Where would increased funding to all areas of education come from? What constitutes ‘reasonable’ regulations in a free market concept, or with firearms? The want for strong enforcement of environmental programs is the longest sentence of their platform, and the one point that is very clear on their opinions. When addressing the inclusion of emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation of criminals, this point lacks specifics, but more than that, raises curiosity as to why delegates, Yablonsky, and Blake have prioritized this issue. It is one that has not been at the forefront of debate before.
Through Model Assembly so far, Yablonsky and Blake have mentioned that they are open to all opinions from delegates, and that they are not trying to hide anything. Interestingly enough, when asked if their platform could change during the weekend during Thursday night’s press conference, it was stated that it could change, depending on the influence from the legislation. In addition, Yablonsky has emphasized the fact that Model Assembly is just that, a model, twice now. He has made it very clear that this weekend, however real it feels to us, is fake. This suggests that his intent in saying this is to ease the stress of the conference that comes with the reality of it, to get more delegates vocal and involved. His intentions were in the right place, but it did seem to take away from the purpose of Model Assembly. To create an environment where we can work and learn as actual Assembly members do.
This writer is of the opinion that the Governor and Lt. Governor are making a poor choice in releasing a platform that is short, and rather lacking in legitimate content. It is an out-of-the-box and uncommon choice, but when done to such a small extent, seems almost unnecessary.
Written by Zachary McCormick, edited by Tori Miller, Digital Media