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Tuesday April 21, 2009 Edition
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Questions, Questions, Questions! Dialogue & Debate with Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Saunders with coprincipals
Ed Webbley and Peter Reynolds at VUHS.
photo provided
Senator Bernie Saunders with coprincipals Ed Webbley and Peter Reynolds at VUHS.

Tuesday April 21, 2009

By Cookie Steponaitis

   When Senator Bernie Sanders visited Vergennes Union High School on Tuesday, April 14th, he requested in his opening remarks that the students engage him in a dialogue. The Senator got his wish and for the next fifty minutes the topics included health care, budget deficits, world affairs, job loss, the Wall Street crisis, child care, college costs, migrant workers and hopes for the future.

   Speaking to a group of students including grades 7-12, the Senator’s comments sparked dialogue, concern and showed that the students had a good command of the issues facing the nation. Senior Julie Edwards queried the Senator about health care costs and sophomore Ann Clancy asked several questions for consideration including, “What will happen to the people who made the huge mistakes on Wall Street?” She went on to question the legal ramifications of their actions and even asked Senator Sanders which was worse the banks failing or the current economic situation we are in now. As each student posed or responded to a question from Senator Saunders, two facts were clear. First was that Senator Saunders values the views of teenagers and purposely set out to elicit their views on a range of topics. Secondly it was clear that there was concern from all present about the critical nature of the times facing America right now and the possible impact it could have on future generations.

   Senator Saunders remarked, “Every parent wants for their children a better life and more choices for the future than they had. There are some people who will tell you that due to the choices made now your generation may even have fewer choices than your parents. I am optimistic and know we can make change, real change happen, if we work together.”

   As the time was winding down, VUHS middle school student Allison Dewey summarized the feelings of all there when she spoke of her plans and dreams for the future; dreams that include America strong and opening doorways for all.        

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