State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) on Tuesday welcomed a group of Watkins Glen High School students to the state Capitol.
Instructor Travis Durfee, who also serves as President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, accompanied the group to Albany. As part of their ninth-grade debate studies curriculum, the students selected and researched a variety of issues, prepared debate briefs and other background materials, and engaged in formal debates. They came to the Capitol this week to meet their state representatives, discuss a variety of ideas and issues, visit the state government complex, and watch live sessions of the Assembly and Senate.
The group also joined O’Mara and Palmesano at a Capitol news conference in support of legislation the area legislators co-sponsor known as the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act.”
In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “We appreciated this opportunity to spend some time with these impressive young men and women, and to hear about their interest in government and the political process. Their insights and thoughtfulness are outstanding. It certainly leaves us hopeful that the next generation of leadership will benefit from their sense of civic responsibility so vital to the strength and well-being of our democracy. It is always exciting and refreshing to see young people respond to the challenges of the day with curiosity, enthusiasm and hard work. That’s what learning is all about.”