Local students participate in Senator for a Day program

By on March 19, 2014
Senator Mike Brubaker

The creativity, intelligence and ingenuity of our community’s best and brightest students is a tremendous source of pride for many schools and parents. I had a unique opportunity to meet and interact with a number of these students recently as part of my Senator for a Day student government seminar. Fifty students and their advisors from seven local high schools took part in a day-long seminar that challenged students to think critically about the most important issues facing our Commonwealth.

To simulate the legislative process, students were divided into committees and asked to debate and vote on legislative proposals. After the committees weighed in on the bills, the students were again brought together for a final vote on each bill. The program also featured an extensive discussion regarding the legislative process and a question-and-answer period for students.

Students debated many of the same issues that lawmakers are grappling with in Harrisburg, including pension reform; drug testing for welfare recipients; taxes on the Marcellus Shale industry; a potential ban on the use of assault weapons; the possible legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes; and age requirements for the use of tanning devices. The attentive and thoughtful approach that students took in debating issues was extremely impressive to me.

While the Senator for a Day event is designed to help young people learn more about government and the legislative process, it also serves as a way to encourage future generations to play an active role in improving the world around them. Young citizens must be willing to bring this same energy, creativity and thoughtfulness to our ongoing efforts to build and maintain strong communities. Teaching these future leaders the importance of getting involved and taking action toward reaching a goal is among the most important lessons imparted during the student government seminar.

I am hopeful that this event and other similar experiences serve as a springboard to greater community involvement. The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service supports volunteer efforts and community service throughout the state through the PennSERVE program. More information on volunteer and community improvement initiatives is available online at the Department of Labor and Industry’s website at dli.state.pa.us under the Individuals tab.

Highlights from the Senator for a Day event are available on my website at senatorbrubaker.com.

New tool available to locate affordable housing

Affordable housing is among the most important basic needs for individuals and families. The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania now offers a new free service to help match people to affordable housing in their area.

Free listing and search options for rental housing and homes for sale are available by visiting PAHousingSearch.com. Listings can include pictures, maps and information about nearby amenities, including hospitals and schools.

In addition to the search feature, the website includes a number of useful tools, including an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renters’ rights and responsibilities. A call center is also available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. to help those in need of affordable housing. Additional information is available by calling 1-877-428-8844.

Sen. Brubaker represents the Ephrata area in Harrisburg. His column appears weekly in the commentary section of the Review. His local office is located at 301 E. Main St., Lititz. To contact him, call 627-0036.

For more information on issues of importance to Lancaster and ChesterCounty residents, visit his website at senatorbrubaker.com.

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