College Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day 8: June 18, 2016
Reported by Karlin Stuckey, Christopher Newport University
Today started promptly at 10 AM, which is a little later than usual, so us college students were appreciative! We shuffled our caffeine-filled selves to the UVA classroom, to prepare for our political battle. We were all assigned different Virginia senators from the districts where we either lived or attended college. By doing this simulation we were all forced to put our personal political parties aside and vote the way our designated senators would have in real life. This allowed us to learn the political process and for those of us who are interested in political office, a glimpse into our possible daily activities.
The beginning involved us breaking up into our separate political parties to go through all of the bills our party was sponsoring. After, we split up into two different committees: redistribution and government services. By doing this both political parties had to compromise on what bills to bring to the senate floor for debate and voting. This section of our simulation was especially hard because each committee had an uneven amount of people from the opposing political parties. Also during this time, if the chairperson did not like the bill they could automatically kill the bill proposed without any discussion or debate.
After eating a delicious lunch from Jason’s Deli, the political parties got back together and made a game plan on how to successfully get their bills passed. During this time, wheeling and dealing occurred, which I personally was not aware actually happened in real life. By making different alliances across the aisle, we were hoping to gain more bipartisan action.
The final part, the most difficult part, was when all of us came together for an official senate session. We used proper procedure, such as addressing the chairman directly and not speaking to other senators. There was constant debate about abortion, guns, and equal pay. At the end we passed a total of 9 bills, because the “governor,” Cash Arehart, vetoed a total of 4.
Marc Reiner, graduate of Christopher Newport University, stated “the simulation revealed many of the challenges that our General Assembly faces on a regular basis.” Marc served as the Senate Majority Leader during the simulation, portraying Senator Dick Saslaw. I personally learned so much from this simulation and now I know exactly how hard it is to truly get a bill turned into a law. I have learned a newfound patience for our local and federal politicians.