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Devil's Advocate reporter Nicolas Malm interviews Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Devil's Advocate reporter Nicolas Malm interviews Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Nicolas Malm, Reporter

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On Monday October 30, LHS welcomed Congressmen Jim McGovern and Joe Kennedy III to the LHS auditorium for the final period of the day as they spoke to the seniors about getting involved in the world.

The two men, who were in town to present a grant to the middle school later in the day, stopped by LHS to encourage seniors to become more involved in civic issues and to remember to register to vote.

Upon the two men’s arrival, an excited and cheering crowd of seniors were eager to get to meet and speak to actual Congressmen.

McGovern began by stating how a Congressman’s primary jobs is to “deal with national issues.” He stressed that people “shouldn’t take citizenship for granted” and should be willing to step up and make a difference. He was glad to see so many young students so eager to be involved and have a voice.

“Being a citizen means caring for your community,” McGovern stated in a sense to motivate the seniors.

Kennedy took a poll of the students to see what issues concerned them. Major issues such as homeless veterans, gun control, discrimination towards LGBT, and the crisis in Puerto Rico crises were among concerns raised by the students. However, the main issue among the students was cost for college.

Upon finding that the number one concern among students was cost of college education, Kennedy wasn’t surprised. “For you guys and your families, this is one of the biggest social issues and economic issues that I find coming up for our generation”.

Kennedy then continued to speak on the concern of not just the cost, but also the effect it could have for students finding employment and starting a life in the future. “But not just the economic question on how you pay for it, but the impact of what this means as you all get older as you get a job, pay your student loans, start a family, and buy a house”.

To put at ease this concern, Kennedy stated “there are some interesting potential solutions to that challenge” he followed this up with “but none of them are actually going to happen if you don’t vote.” This motivated the crowd of seniors and encouraged them to further get involved.

McGovern said of homeless veterans: “returning veterans need welfare” and he followed that up by explaining a major reason for the homelessness is it is difficult for them to find jobs because what they learn when they are in the service sometimes is hard to transfer into civilian skills. “Their skills aren’t used once they are back in the real world,” he said, and he believes it is an issue that needs to be worked on.

After the public forum, the Congressmen were asked if they felt there were any areas of wasteful military spending that the Department of Defense needs to eliminate in order to provide better training and services for the military personnel post-service. Kennedy replied to this by saying that too many military bases aren’t specifically being used to an advantage. Cutting funding in these may be in order. “ A seven hundred billion dollar budget…building obsolete bases were not needed” says Kennedy.

 

 

(Right) Congressman McGovern addresses the students while Congressman Kennedy (center) and State Representative Natalie Higgins (left) look on. Photo by: Nicolas Malm  

 

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