U.S. Congressman Cicilline Visits Year Up

May 25, 2011 Issues: Education
U.S. Congressman Cicilline Visits Year Up

PROVIDENCE, RI– U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) recently joined Year Up Providence to catch up on what the group has been engaged in as a national leader in urban young adult employment and a pathway to post-secondary education.

Congressman Cicilline started his visit by shaking hands with each of the 38 students present and introduced himself as “a huge Year Up fan.”

He spoke about his personal career and the path that led him to politics.

“I was not a normal kid,” he joked, and shared that as a teenager he would ask his parents to drop him off at local town council meetings.

During Congressman Cicilline’s early career as a lawyer, he gained experience working with young adults in the juvenile justice system.  He found it to be both rewarding and challenging work.

“I realized that if I was going to do something…to change the lives of more kids I was going to have to get into politics.”

Cristian Santos asked, “What has kept you motivated?”  

Congressman Cicilline responded that the time he has spent with students in schools has been an important reminder of the impact and relevance of his work.

Representative Cicilline noted that, “Knowing that nothing worthwhile is easy” has helped him to see through difficult times.

Students’ questions also touched on some of the issues that have been at the forefront of national politics.

Anusone Nanthavongsa, a student from Year Up’s Class 13, asked Congressman Cicilline to comment on the recent discussion of changing graduation standards in Rhode Island Public Schools.

“We owe it to our young people to see that they can compete and succeed in a 21st century global economy,” the Congressman Cicilline said. “We are cheating them if we lower our standards.”

In closing, Rep. Cicilline stated that he is, “a big believer in the importance of investing in young people.”

In order for the United States to succeed in the future, he concluded, “We have to make the right investments now.”