For Immediate Release
September 17, 2004


Senator Carlene M. Walker

Representative Chad E. Bennion

Students are Reminded "Your Ideas Count!"

Salt Lake City - Students will learn what the life of a legislator is like when Representative Chad Bennion and Senator Carlene Walker visit Brighton High School students at 7:30 a.m. on September 20th to kick off a nationwide civic education program.

During the week of September 20-24, legislators across the country will participate in America's Legislators Back to School Week. Sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, this program is a civic education initiative of the Trust for Representative Democracy. The Trust is designed to engage young people and build their understanding and support for the U.S. Constitution and America's democratic institutions.

Representative Bennion emphasizes that we are all part of the governing process. "It's great to work with the students in the classroom because our government derives its power from the citizen participation. 'We the People' is as important today as it was over 200 years ago."

Senator Walker and Representative Bennion are the spokespersons for the event this year and emphasize that legislators can help students understand, value, and be involved in public service. When legislators and teachers collaborate in their efforts, students gain valuable lessons from mock sessions, drafting of bills, and meaningful discussions.

Following the kickoff session, the legislators will teach another Brighton group at 8:50 AM, then move to East Midvale Elementary, where they will engage the entire 5th grade in a 1:00 p.m. mock legislative session.

Senator Walker looks forward to visiting schools every year. "It helps me keep in touch with teachers and students and gives them a chance to see who represents them. Each year the legislature tackles issues that have direct impact on their lives. Identity theft, guns in schools, DUI laws, driver education, and school uniforms spark some lively classroom discussions. Students and teachers are excited to meet and give input to their own legislator."

Utah is one of the top three states nationwide in legislator participation. Legislators brought civics to life for 16,500 students in 165 Utah schools last year.

Materials provided to each student echo the theme of the event, "Your Ideas Count."

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You can reach Event Coordinator, Shelley Day, at 801-326-1600.

Additional information is available at the following sites:

America's Legislators Back to School Week

The Trust for Representative Democracy

The National Conference of State Legislatures