One of the projects in which some homeschoolers participate is going to lobby at their state capitol so they can learn first-hand how our government functions. For several years, I have known about active homeschooling groups that do this in Missouri and in Utah. Let me tell you about the experience of a group of 14-to-18-year-old Minnesota homeschool students. Each year, they choose a public policy topic to research, discuss, and draft mock legislative resolutions. This year they selected the health care bill which was then making its way through Congress.
As soon as the health care bill passed, the kids got excited about the content of the bill, the way it was passed, and the back room deals. The student leader, 18-year-old Fletcher Warren, gave a radio interview saying, “we decided that we should do what we could." We wrote out a 3-page resolution detailing our concerns, such as the law's unconstitutionality and violation of the commerce clause. The resolution calls on Minnesota’s governor, attorney general, and state legislature to seek an injunction that would relieve the state of having to comply with newly enacted national healthcare legislation. The 32 homeschoolers then gathered at the St. Paul, Minnesota statehouse to hand-deliver letters and copies of the signed resolution to Minnesota legislators. The students were able to meet with four representatives and two senators, all of whom were cordial to their young constituents.
Fletcher Warren, who served as chairman of the homeschoolers' health care committee, was pleased with the way legislators received the students and message. He described the experience of lobbying at the state capitol as “overwhelmingly positive.” The students then expanded their efforts beyond the state legislature and spoke to several of their Congressmen. The students' lobbying trip turned out to be a good lesson in how government operates and how citizens can participate.
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