2008 elections: MPHS students part of the process " Granby, Colorado | SkyHiNews.com

2008 elections: MPHS students part of the process " Granby, Colorado

Granby, Colorado

Jack Dugwyler said his civics class at Middle Park High School is learning about elections first-hand.

Six candidates and elected officials have already spoken to the Middle Park High juniors and seniors, answered their questions and talked about this year’s election.

“It takes it out of the textbook and puts it in real life,” Dugwyler said. “It’s been a valuable experience.”

State Sen. Dan Gibbs stopped by to talk with civics class students Monday.

“I always try to bring to the capitol to their doorsteps,” said Gibbs, (D-Summit County). “I really want to encourage them to be part of the process.”

When Gibb, 33, told the students he was their state senator, they were surprised because he wasn’t “old.”

“I want to learn what Gibbs stands for, and keep that information in mind when we hear from Republicans,” said Thompson, 18, a senior.

Don Ytterberg, Gibb’s opponent (R-Jefferson County), got his chance to speak with the students Tuesday and “answer their questions as candidly as possible.”

He encouraged the students to vote, telling them its one of their greatest rights.

The students questioned his stance on his belief in a traditional marriage, asked what he planned to do about all beetle kill trees, protecting the state’s natural resources and water rights.

Dugwyler said the students have been asking good questions during the class.

“A lot of our kids have the idea that adults don’t want to talk to them,” he said. It was an eye-opener for them when the speakers wanted to hear from them and

encouraged questions.

Senior Dani Salberg, 17, of Granby said the speakers have been very informative, and explained the issues so they understood them.

“It has been really interesting to know what the candidates are going to do about the issues, especially because I can vote this year,” said Fraser’s Kelsey Nordin, a senior. “Meeting the candidates has helped me with my decision.”

She was most interested in learning what would happen when there’s a loss of funds for college and college loans.

“I’m not really interested in politics,” she said. “I support them in doing it though because it sounds really difficult.”

Gibbs told the students about his background and how when he had the opportunity to run, he asked himself, “Why not me?”

“I’m fairly interested in politics, but not heavily,” said Chris Rory Mulligan, 17. “I learned that the different levels of government just seem to get in the way of each other. Also, I learned that the federal standards don’t seem to come with the federal financial support.”

The students have also heard from Grand County Clerk Sara Rosene and Grand County Assessor Tom Weydert, Steamboat Springs resident and attorney Tammy L. Stewart who is running for the 4th Judicial District Attorney and Todd Hagenbuch, D-Phippsburg who is running for House District 57, which is being vacated by Rep. Al White, R-Hayden. The students will still hear from two more candidates as well as Sky-Hi Daily News Editor Autumn Phillips who will talk to them about the role of the media in politics.

The class is also organizing a forum for the candidates of two races ” State Senate District 16 and House District 57 ” at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Middle Park High Auditorium. The students will moderate the debate and will take questions from the audience afterward.

Dugwyler said, when the election is done, he hopes the students understand how popular sovereignty works and that the people are part of the process.

“Those that can vote are pretty excited and looking forward to voting in November,” he added.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or k.looby@grandcountynews.com.

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