WASHINGTON – Arkansas high school students are lending their voices to Washington policies as members of U.S. Senator John Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet, a program to expose students to the legislative process and opportunities for advocacy and civic engagement.

The group of 44 juniors from all four congressional districts met for the first time in Little Rock last week.

Nicki Hooten of Greenbrier is a participant from the 2nd Congressional District.

"I am pleased to launch this program in Arkansas and bring together young leaders from all corners of the state," Boozman said. "I look forward to receiving their feedback on subjects that interest them and their peers and discussing the challenges facing our nation. We all have a responsibility to use our talents to improve our communities and I am grateful that these students are interested in helping shape the future and advocate on issues important to them."

The Congressional Youth Cabinet is a nonpartisan initiative that allows students to gain first-hand experience of engaging in the democratic process. Participants will attend several meetings throughout the school year. As part of the program, they will research a national issue they select and present their recommendations for Senator Boozman at the final meeting in April.

Information about this year’s program was distributed to all Arkansas public school districts and students submitted applications to participate. Students were chosen to represent all four congressional districts with an emphasis on community involvement and leadership.