HARRISBURG, March 11 – In several meetings over the past few months, state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., talked with area students about what it means to be an engaged citizen and explained the legislative process.
“It is never too early to teach what it means to be a good citizen, and the students of the 194th Legislative District – from home schoolers through a senior attending J. R. Masterman – are wonderful examples responsible of citizens in the making,” DeLissio said.
In late January, DeLissio had the opportunity to speak to a government class at the invitation of constituent Adia Hayden.
“It was a pleasure to engage in dialogue with rising seniors who have the interest and desire to better understand how state government works, and the importance of those legislative decisions on our daily lives,” DeLissio said. “I was thrilled to find out that every 18-year-old in the class was registered to vote and that the first-time voters were looking forward to April 26, primary election day in Pennsylvania.”
In early February, DeLissio received an unscheduled visit from Zoe and Maxi Murphy, who are home-schooled by their mom. The girls were dropping off hand-written letters advocating for funding for the Scrip fund, which supports 4-H activities. The students are members of the Manatawna-Saul 4-H Club and described vividly how they cared for lambs and pigs as part of their experience. DeLissio said that it was a great reminder that the 194th has a vested interest in the No. 1 industry in the commonwealth – which is agriculture.
DeLissio also visited with the third-graders at Cook-Wissahickon School last week.
“The students were studying state government and asked many, many questions about how government worked, if I had ever met President Obama, and what part of the job I liked the most,” she said. “I assured them that meeting and talking to students was definitely a fun part of the job. I also donated a book to their library entitled, ‘Grace For President’ as a reminder of how few elected women there are in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.”
For the third year, DeLissio acted as “President of the Senate” for Good Government day at Cabrini College, hosted by state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware/Montgomery.
The seminar is an educational forum for high school students to learn and interact with administration leaders, legislators and government affairs representatives. Following a seminar on understanding the legislative process and then breaking into “committee meetings,” students then engaged in a mock Senate session with DeLissio at the helm.
“It is fascinating and fun to witness the students debate legislation and interrogate each, other as well as put forth their constituent’s views on the matter,” she said.
DeLissio said that she did her best to interject a good dose of the real session world by explaining and having the students adhere to the myriad rules that govern the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Those rules included not being permitted to address a colleague by their name and ensuring that their requests to be recognized were always preceded by “Madame Speaker.”
During the exercise, students were surprised at the outcome of some of the votes on matters such as the legalization of recreational marijuana and a “death-with-dignity” bill that would permit physician assistance under certain terms and conditions.
DeLissio said that after interactions with students in these different scenarios, she is encouraged that our future is in good and thoughtful hands.