In late September, seventh and eighth-grade students from private Jewish day school Hershorin Schiff Community Day School traveled to Tallahassee for a tour of our state capitol – a trip that has been enjoyed by middle schoolers at Community Day for many years. Unfortunately this year, the state legislature was not in session when the students visited, so they didn’t have the opportunity to meet with local elected officials.
In order to facilitate face time with these young constituents, Representative Margaret Good, District 72 (D-Sarasota) visited them on October 2. Rep. Good discussed her motivations for getting involved in politics, explained how the process and calendar works in the Florida House, and then engaged in a rigorous Q&A with the students about some of the pressing issues facing our area. Topics included water quality, gun control, mental health, vaping, the environment, and her take on the challenges of serving in the House’s minority party, especially as the country has become so polarized.
Rep. Good – who noted that she either wanted to be President or a major league baseball player when she was young – emphasized that she works to bridge difference by staying focused on the issues. She said she’s happy to get things done, even if she doesn’t get credit for it. Although many of the students’ questions focused on the frustration of seeing legislators not executing the will of the people (particularly with regard to the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative and background checks, which are overwhelmingly supported by voters of both parties), Rep. Good noted that she is heartened by the rising support for environmental issues on all sides of the aisle.
When asked how kids can get involved with issues that they care about, Rep. Good encouraged them to stay in touch with elected officials, to write letters and to protest when they feel it’s warranted. She is heartened to see young people getting involved and speaking out – she noted that there are 35 high school and college interns involved with her office because they want to make a difference.
This coming year, which is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment (giving women the right to vote), Rep. Good hopes to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in Florida so that the country can move closer to amending the U.S. Constitution.
When her visit was concluded, Rep. Good was presented with a gift bag from the school and thanked enthusiastically by the students, attending teachers and school leadership.
For more about Community Day School, call 941-552-2770 or go to CommunityDay.org.