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Lawmaker chats with students in Port Huron

by Candice Miller on October 27, 2011

 Live from Capitol Hill
Lawmaker chats with students in Port Huron
By JULIANNE MATTERA
Times Herald
http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20111027/NEWS01/110270312/Live-from-Capitol-Hill?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s
With the help of technology, high school students had a congressional representative at the helm of their classroom.
 
At least 80 Advanced Placement Government students at Port Huron Northern High School gathered for an hour Wednesday afternoon for a video conference with U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township.
 
With her face projected on a large screen, Miller spoke to the students from her office in Washington D.C. about her responsibilities as the representative of the state’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes St. Clair and Sanilac counties.
 
She also recounted her path into politics — starting as a Harrison Township trustee in 1979 — and encouraged students to get involved in the political process.
 
“It’s very important that younger people do vote,” she said.
 
As students asked Miller questions, the congresswoman also shared her views on issues such as the debt crisis, unemployment rates in Michigan, the housing market and increasing voter participation.
 
Miller said it was important for young people to be able to directly question public officials.
 
Mike Hamann, AP Government teacher at Northern, said having Miller teleconference with his students was a way to reinforce the material they learn in his classroom. Hamann’s classes have been discussing voter participation, and they’ll be focusing on Congress in a couple of weeks, he said.
 
“To actually see somebody and hear somebody who’s directly involved with what we’re talking about really kind of makes a connection for students and brings it home for them,” Hamann said.
 
Students also said they enjoyed the experience.
 
Sophomore Amy Tseng, 15, of Fort Gratiot, said she liked hearing Miller’s opinions on the issues. Tseng questioned Miller about the debt crisis — questioning why the government continues to spend money it doesn’t have even though it’s in debt.
 
“It’s kind of a big deal because we’re going to be the next generation,” she said. “And it’s going to kind of cause problems for us.”

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