Congressman Dave Loebsack made an unusual campaign stop in Pleasantville this morning when he met with approximately 60 students who are not yet old enough to vote.
Deb McKnight's eighth grade Civics class is studying campaigning and our election process. She assigned different groups to a candidate.
The student groups researched candidates, wrote and called their campaigns and asked for materials to display. Murals of several local candidates hang in the hall outside of McKnight's classroom. Candidates were also invited to come to speak to the class Loebsack was the first to accept this invitation.
"They seemed very confident making phone calls and doing follow-up phone calls," McKnight said of her students. The students were engaged by learning about campaigns in this direct manner.
Students Amber Rivera, Jordan Dursky, Taylor Foley, Briana Pagel and Faith Rechkemmer agreed that they enjoyed learning about politics in this manner.
"They're more excited about it than I thought," McKnight said of Friday's event, before Loebsack's arrival.
Loebsack toured the school before coming into the Events Center for the presentation. Dennis Oliver, who worked with McKnight to organize the event, let the students know of staff expectations for the event. Beyond that, it was all student-led. Students met Loebsack for the tour, a student introduced the Congressman and all questions came from students.
The topics the students raised ranged from border security (as it relates to Ebola and illegal immigration), to abortion and Syria.
"It was fun and interesting to work on," Elizabeth Jolly said of the event.
The students, previously mentioned, said that the event was great. They thought Loebsack answered the questions well and seemed like a nice person. Loebsack enjoyed the experience with the students as well.
"It was pretty good, I have to say," Loebsack said. "I've done this a number of times and this is one of my favorite things to do."
Gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch is scheduled to visit the school on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 8:15 a.m. Loebsack's Republican opponent, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has expressed interest in presenting as well. She and McKnight are trying to find a time to accommodate this.