“Now, every time I’m in the car and I have that urge, I’m like, ‘Man, if those girls pulled up next to me and they saw me texting and driving, I would be horrified,’” he said.

Haaland, the congresswoman from New Mexico, pointed to another example of young activists making a difference in local politics. She recalled a group of young people who visited her office with members of Moms Clean Air Force, an anti-air pollution organization, who inspired her to stop using straws and support efforts to ban plastic bags in Albuquerque.

“We should just be willing to protect our kids,” she said. “We should just do what they ask us to the first time so they don’t have to spend all of their extracurricular activity fighting for the things that they need, like defending our environment.”