Previous Levin Center Intern, Calder Burgam, Publishes Op-Ed

Previous Levin Center Legal Summer Intern und Wayne Law alum, Calder Burgam, has published an op-ed with the Detroit Legal News reviewing his internship in Congress and young voter’s hope for future governments. Read the excerpt below or navigate to the full piece! 

Young voters are looking for a government that works

by Calder Burgam, Detroit Legal News, June 7, 2024

Calder Burgam

With two of the oldest presidential candidates in our history sitting atop their respective tickets in the upcoming election, there is justified concern that younger voters will stay home. A Harvard Youth Poll found an eight percent drop in the number of Americans between 18 and 29 years old who “definitely” plan to vote. Young voters “want evidence that democracy works and “that government can address our challenges,” according to polling director John Della Volpe. Looking at the news coming out of Congress lately, that evidence has been hard to come by.

It is not difficult to understand why younger voters are feeling less inclined to engage with our democratic institutions. The problems millions in our country face are existential and have been for years. The climate crisis did not sneak up on us. Economic inequality did not appear out of nowhere. Mass shootings are not a new phenomenon. And yet, the branch of government that is supposed to be most responsive to the needs of the public seems unable to do more than lurch from one crisis to the next.

The good news is there is a model for Congress to follow to win back the trust of younger voters. The even better news is that many in Congress already use it. I know because I’ve seen it firsthand.

Every year, Wayne Law’s Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy places law students in Congressional committees conducting legislative oversight.