Senate Youth Program Sending Iowa Students to Washington D.C.


Michael Moonjely.

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IOWA CITY, Iowa  --  Two Iowa high schoolers are preparing to travel to the nation's capitol for a special, week-long trip to meet politicians including numerous senators and President Trump.

KWWL's Jalyn Souchek met with Michael Moonjely of Iowa City to find out more about the Senate Youth Program sending the students to Washington and what he hopes to gain from the experience.

Since the age of five, Michael has had an interest in politics.

"The Bush-Kerry campaign in 2004. I remember making campaign posters on construction paper and asking my mom to stay up and watch the debates," he said.

Even if he didn't necessarily know what was going on at that time, Michael said, "I think I had this feeling that I knew it was important."

His political interests were solidified in high school, when he interned for Congressman Dave Loebsack and tried working with senators through the page program.

"I called both Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley's office, but unfortunately none of them were participating in the program," said Michael. "So I spent a couple weeks cold calling 80 senator offices and I got rejected from each one. I begged them, 'can I be a page for you even though I'm not from your state,' and I got rejected."

This was all before Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi's secretary told him about the Senate Youth Program, which involves a long application process and a "pretty strenuous test."

"There was a lot of trivial information, things you wouldn't really pick up on if don't watch the news or keep up on current events," said Michael.

He was picked to be one of two Iowa delegates to spend a week in Washington D.C. with a variety of political leaders.

"Being surrounded 103 nerds as big as I am, that's what I'm most excited for, honestly," Michael laughed. "But also just the opportunity to experience politics as so many different levels."

If given the chance, Michael said he would ask President Trump what he hopes Governor Branstad will achieve as the Ambassador to China. In addition to the experience Michael will get on this trip, he will also receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Michael leaves for D.C. on Saturday.


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