The fourth and fifth graders held their heads a little higher when they heard that they, too, could become lawmakers some day.
"I can be in office for 11 more years, if the voters send me. That means that one of you could take my place when I leave," Nevada Senator Valerie Wiener told them. That helps bring the Legislature to life.
"Being a legislator is more than passing bills; we make decisions for real people," says Wiener. That's one of the reasons she is passionate about talking with students in the classroom. And she doesn't see just a few kids. During America's Legislators Back to School Week last September, she visited 69 classes in 15 schools and spoke with 1,707 students, 94 teachers and 15 principals. She says it was a "wonderful week, and I learned more than the students." Another motivating factor for her visits was redistricting. These students live within her new district boundaries, and the event gave her an opportunity to get to know them.
Wiener urges students to make good life choices and emphasizes the importance of voting and citizenship. She feels it's important to let students know that legislators are real people and to tell them about the legislative process, including how kids can have an effect. She also...