Representative Dean Phillips makes an appearance at Edina High School to initiate student participation in government


Anna Fiddelke

Dean Philips presents his slideshow “Civics 101” to students.

Claire Chen, section editor

On Oct. 11, United States Representative Dean Phillips visited Edina High School to introduce himself to students and recount his experience as a congressman. During 7th period in Fick Auditorium, Phillips aimed to encourage youth engagement in politics by presenting a slideshow about the basics of government and participating in a Q&A with students. 

The representative had previously coordinated with Edina Public Schools for other appearances, though none occurred at EHS. Phillips noticed a lack of involvement from younger generations in politics, which inspired him to initiate over a dozen similar events in Minnesota. 

“Politics doesn’t intentionally create space for teenagers to participate, and I thought, ‘If I’m frustrated by that, I should do something about it,’” Philips said. 

A majority of the students who attended the event had a social studies class during 7th hour and arrived as a whole class. Others heard of the event through peers and teachers. Throughout the presentation, titled “Civics 101,” Phillips threw questions at the students to garner engagement and repeatedly conveyed the importance of young people in government. 

“He really wanted to incorporate our generation into current politics and truly valued our opinions,” sophomore Ainsley Folken said. 

In the Q&A discussion after his presentation, students asked questions pertaining to his platform and values. Through the Q&A, Phillips also expressed what students can do to participate in government. 

“When I [speak in front of students] and see their energy, ideas, the diversity of perspectives, and backgrounds, it energizes me, and that’s why, in some ways, I do [these events],” Philips said. 

AP Government and AP U.S. History teacher Erik Anderson plans to invite Phillip’s opponent Tom Weiler to EHS and host a similar event so students can become acquainted with both candidates. 

 “In the future, I’m hoping [we could continue] with these events, where kids get more involved and it becomes a thing on a more routine basis.” Anderson said.