Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Alyse Hartley, social studies teacher at Wahlquist Jr. High School in Weber School District
My very favorite TV show is The West Wing. This show follows the life of a fictional US president and his workings with his West Wing staff. This series depicts what I always thought government should be – our leaders working together, regardless of party and politics, to best serve the people. We don’t always get to see this version of government in real life. Too often we see important legislation held up over political disagreements, representatives putting the needs and desires of the party above the interests and needs of those they are elected to serve. We the people, left on the sidelines watching with frustration.
Since becoming a UEA Policy Ambassador, however, I have learned that it doesn’t have to be this way. I have had the opportunity to meet fellow educators and Policy Ambassadors. They have helped guide me and teach me how to get involved. I have learned how to track bills and be aware of what is going on during the legislative session. I have gained the courage to reach out to my representatives and have my voice be heard. I have learned how to make a difference and enact change in those areas I am most passionate about – education, supporting my colleagues, and helping my students succeed.
You don’t have to be a Policy Ambassador to have your voice be heard though! We can create the kind of government we want and create the change we believe in by reaching out to our representatives – call them, email them, even send them a letter! They are real people, elected to serve us and they want to hear from us!
One more thing The West Wing gives us is some excellent quotes. Two of these quotes have always stuck out to me. The first, a quote by Margaret Mead says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The second is a quote by the fictional West Wing President Josiah Bartlet who says, “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Let us follow these words and show up and change the world.