Taking an Active Role Doesn’t Need to be Hard – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador Ray Smalley

Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Ray Smalley, agriculture teacher at Roy High School in Weber School District

When I signed up to be a Policy Ambassador, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. However, there were two things I did know. I wanted to learn more about the legislative process, and I wanted to take an active role in the policies that not only affect my job and profession but my community and my family.

I didn’t know how to get involved but knew I wanted to. So, without knowing what to expect, I responded to an email to become a UEA Policy Ambassador and I am glad I did. Here are a few of my thoughts about the experience.

By nature, I am the kind of person that likes to sit back and observe before I open my mouth and step into something. I was able to do that, but I was also given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and take part in conveying my story and my message to those who vote on the issues that affect me. I learned how to approach and contact a representative and was briefed on the issues at hand.

I would have to say though that my biggest take away from this experience was that if I want to have a voice, I have one, and it is a relatively simple process.

Spending a day on the Hill was much less intimidating than I imagined. I observed and then also got to take part. Being included with the UEA group made it easy to find my way around as there were other people in my same situation learning for the first time as well as more experienced educators. I was able to team up with others and meet with our representative to express our concerns about proposed bills.

My time as a policy ambassador has been rewarding and I would recommend the experience to anyone.