On the cusp of diving into a civics lesson about the House of Representatives, Ms. Greer’s advanced placement (AP) government class at Livermore High School received a virtual visit from their own 15th Congressional District Representative, Eric Swalwell.
On Monday, Sept. 9, 2020, Swalwell was able to connect virtually from the inside of the Livermore High classroom that students would have been occupying in non-COVID times. With the backdrop of student projects, the U.S. flag, and presidential photos and quotes, Swalwell engaged students in a discussion about governance. He answered questions about topics such as the role of money in politics, the pandemic response, domestic terrorism, #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements, and climate change.
LHS Senior Tyler Olcese said, "It was really amazing to hear everyone's insightful and well-researched questions. I feel like they were answered really well too. It was very obvious that Swalwell truly cared about the things we discussed.”
Greer’s students were well prepared and did not shy away from asking about the congressman’s voting record related to immigration policies and military spending. Swalwell explained that the act of voting on legislation is complex, and that despite having a general perspective on an issue, each bill should be evaluated individually for its merits.
Swalwell also shared his personal path in politics, sparking even more questions about how young people can become involved in government through educational opportunities and internships. Greer was glad to have our congressman visit her students.
“Representative Swalwell does such a good job being relatable to students,” said Greer. “He makes politics and government feel closer. Kids always say that they had no idea that everyday people like him could be the ones who are doing this abstract work in DC.”
Over the past few years, Greer has noticed an increasing confidence in her students to become change-makers, to advocate for their futures, and to educate themselves about the issues facing our nation. Her students, if not eligible for this upcoming election, will soon have their first voting opportunity as young adults. Swalwell concluded his video chat by encouraging students to view voting as a three-step process: educate yourself on the issues, cast your vote, and hold your elected officials accountable.
Senior Ava May summed up Swalwell’s visit by saying, “Speaking with Congressman Swalwell first hand gave me hope that as we progress, accountability and true representation in government is possible. Mr. Swalwell, by holding this event, revealed a personal dedication to making sure the voices of the future are heard today.”