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Wish granted: Michigan teen becomes "Senator for a Day"

WASHINGTON D.C. (WLNS) - An 18 year-old Michigan teen who has dreams of becoming a United States Senator, at least for a day, had his wish granted on Tuesday thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

"Tom discovered his passion for government and politics at 8-years-old when he joined his grandmother on a trip to Washington D.C.,” Senator Gary Peters, D-Michigan, said.  

Fast forward 10 years-later to today, Stephenson quickly became U.S. Senator Thomas Stephenson as he got a first-hand look at the world of politics with Senator Peters.

"I've considered it a real privilege and honor to be able to spend time with him today,” Senator Peters said. “Show him what we do each and every day."

And Stephenson's heart condition did not stop him from getting the full experience which included a long day of meetings, media interviews, and briefings just to name a few.

"It's a little surreal to see that, to see and hear all the stuff that goes on in Washington,” Stephenson said. “To see up close the people that are making these policy making decisions is very special to me."

Stephenson said he’s passionate about health care and higher education issues, adding that his generation faces a number of economic challenges and he was happy to be able to discuss issues such as health care and college affordability with senators and the media throughout the day.

“This was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m grateful to Make-A-Wish and Senator Peters for making this day possible,” he said.

It’s a memory both Stephenson and Senator Peters say they'll never forget.

"He represents the best of American youth, the fact that he wanted to spend his day here in the U.S. Senate is something very special,” Senator Peters said.

Stephenson will be a freshman at Michigan State University in the fall.

“I am proud to welcome Tom both as a senator and as a fellow Spartan,” Peters said.

Make-A-Wish Foundation creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.


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