On the heels of an election that saw more young people vote than ever before, it has become apparent that people are taking an interest in politics and government at a younger age. In these tough times for our country, it is important for people to have a strong grasp on the issues. This is true for people of all ages. Young people are no longer afraid to voice their opinions, and therefore, it is important to educate them on the issues. They are eager to have a better understanding of their government, and those who are a part of it.
During the last month, I have had the honor of speaking – and listening – to some very bright students, ranging from fourth to twelfth grade. It has been my pleasure to speak to them about our government, and the issues and challenges it faces right now.
The 10th Annual National Legislators-Go-Back-to-School Program has been a huge success this year. The program consists of legislators visiting various schools in their respective districts, and speaking to young people about politics and government. Not only do we review the basics of our government and legislative systems, but we also tackle real-life issues that affect these children’s lives every day. I am very impressed with their understanding of intricate issues such as the economy, the war, this month’s elections, health care, and plenty more.
To date, I have visited 19 schools throughout the 19th Legislative District since the beginning of the school year, including three schools in Perth Amboy, four schools in Carteret, two schools in Sayreville, and ten schools in Woodbridge. I have talked to students of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds. They all share the common traits of enthusiasm to learn and to discuss. The students’ intelligence and willingness to learn have left me confident that our country will be in good hands for years to come. As a legislator, I am able to give back to the students, so they gain a greater understanding and appreciation of our American democracy.
I was able to stress the importance of voting in this historic time because for the first time in our nation’s history, we had an African-American candidate representing the Democratic Party for President and a woman for vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party. The most important people in a democracy are the voters because every right that you have starts with the right to vote. If you are going to exercise your right to vote, then you have a responsibility to know what the issues are at hand, not be complacent or stay home and let somebody else decide the election. I have encouraged the students to take an active role in our democracy.
It has been a rewarding experience to meet with the students because as much as I think I have to share with students, I learn so much from them. I was amazing at how much children know. The fact we had a presidential election, there was and still is lots of excitement about that. It is good time for student to understand how the government works, what their role is in the government and what responsibilities come along with being a voter. Children are realizing, now more than ever, that they elected a president, who will be the leader of the free world, and they are learning the role of the United States has in the world.
Please feel free to take the time to contact my district office at 276 Hobart Street in Perth Amboy at (732) 324-5955 or via e-mail at AsmVas@njleg.org, should you have any questions, concerns or proposals regarding legislative matters.
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