Reported by Neil Kothari (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)
Our morning began at 7:30 a.m., when we boarded the bus for a trip to the State Capitol in Richmond. After checking into the Capitol building, we heard from several speakers, such as staff of the Governor, aides to the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, and the Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth, who each had a differing opinions on an array of issues. It was refreshing to hear consecutive speakers on opposite ends of the political spectrum offer differing opinions on issues like redistricting reform and automatic voter registration.
After lunch, we enjoyed a tour of the Capitol and had the privilege of visiting both the House and Senate Chambers. We learned important details regarding the history of the Capitol and had the opportunity to see old rooms. While we were unable to see the General Assembly in session, it was great to see where Virginia public policy is formed, debated, and adopted. Shortly after, we took a tour of the Governor’s mansion, learning about the history of building and how it is used today.
After the trip, students received feedback on their policy proposal drafts and meticulously worked on refining them through the night. Tomorrow, students will participate in "The Budget Game" and craft Policy Presentations for Friday.