Dana Ferguson is coming out in strong condemnation of his opponent's recent quotes in an article in The Mining Journal.
MARQUETTE, Mich. — Published over the weekend in the Mining Journal, Rep. Jack Bergman (R, Acme) referred to the education of 18-year-olds as "disturbing." Democratic nominee Dana Ferguson condemned his opponent's comments and responded with the release of a policy focused on issues relevant to young people. Ferguson also laid out a plan to form a Congressional youth advisory committee if elected.
Reportedly Bergman said 18-year-olds have no concept about civics, history, or Constitutional government and falsely asserted that "our middle and high schools do not teach US history."
"It's not just an insult to young people," said Ferguson. "His comments directly undervalue the real successes of teachers across the state. Through this campaign, I've met very active, civically engaged students who completely defy my opponent's opinion of them."
Local educators also came out in strong condemnation of Bergman's quote on social media. Ferguson echoed their reactions and laid a plan to create a '1st District Congressional Youth Advisory Committee' in addition to standard internship opportunities.
“As politicians and leaders, we should be encouraging our younger generation to get involved, not attacking their intellect," said Ferguson. "The problem isn’t in their lack of knowledge, it’s that we’ve created a system that disenfranchises youth and makes them feel like their opinions don’t matter. We need to change that."
The district has seven secondary education universities. Dana has proposed to work in conjunction with each – and with constituent-services staff – to work with two young people per seven regions. Each appointee to a ‘Congressional Youth Advisory Committee’ will form democratically organized groups to engage their peers, hold regular meetings, then report to staff and the Congressman on issues. In seven areas, regional staff will work with one representative high school student and one college student. These youth liaison officers will represent two age groups, 14-18 and 18-24.
Congressional staff in the district will be briefed by each six times annually and Ferguson will hold a youth convention every six months during his term.
"This is in addition to the policy we're already taking with us to Congress," said Ferguson. "We've already worked diligently with young students to author a platform for their issues. They have always cared. Many feel voiceless on Capitol Hill precisely because of the lack of outreach and the same sentiments my opponent perpetuated in the Mining Journal. I will serve young people just as well as I will serve my opponent's age group."
Ferguson has been endorsed by the Michigan Education Association and is a recommended candidate with the National Education Association (NEA). He regularly contrasts his vision for improving public education with Jack Bergman's "F" grade from the NEA. The NEA advocates for adequate Federal funding of public schools.