Event is a National Bipartisan Effort to Teach Young People About Representative Democracy

WALL, NJ - Senator Sean T. Kean and Assembly members Dave Rible and Mary Pat Angelini will be participating in the New Jersey legislative “Back to School” event. This is part of a national bipartisan effort to teach young people about representative democracy and is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL).

“Speaking with a state legislator and having the opportunity to ask questions really helps kids to understand what it means to be an elected official and the legislative process,” said Senator Sean Kean. “Each visit the students ask some great questions and are interested how the laws come about that govern their lives.”

According to the NCSL, the program is designed to teach students what it is like to be a state legislator and to explain what being a legislator entails, including the processes, debates, negotiations and compromises.

“As a state legislator, it is important to reach out to all of our constituents, especially the students,” added Angelini. “We want to show our young constituents that their ideas are valuable and encourage their participation in the democratic process.”

NCSL explains that the program was introduced as a one-day event in 1999 as part of the Trust for Representative Democracy's civic education campaign, to provide a modern approach for engaging students in understanding the value of democracy. The program was so successful that it was expanded into a one-week event in 2001 and a year long program in 2005. Every year, more than 1,300 state lawmakers visit an estimated 320,000 students in their classrooms.

“One of my favorite parts of my job as legislator is visiting schools and talking with students,” said Rible. “It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent and aware the students are about state issues and I enjoy speaking with young people to get their thought on the issues that matter to them.”

The legislators said that letters have been sent to schools urging them to participate and encouraging teachers and principals to call (732) 974-1719 to schedule a visit from their representatives.