Photo by Bryce Fleck

By Cole Niedmann and Bryce Fleck

On Thursday, Nov. 15 Coginchaug seniors visited the United States Capitol and got a taste of what government was all about. The students had the option of exploring both houses of Congress and the Library of Congress.

Most seniors took the opportunity to view at least one of the houses in Congress. Because of the late visit to Congress after the midterm elections, the seniors were unable to see both sessions in full capacity; however, they got to see Congressional procedure and key political figures such as senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer. While watching the House in session, Coginchaug students watched several representatives, having lost in the midterm elections, speak about their constituencies. In political terminology, this is called “lame ducking” in which politicians on their way out of office make a final effort to voice their opinions. This was a view of politics that most do not get to experience first hand.

In the Senate, students watched the late John McCain’s replacement Jon Kyl speak about the need for more government expenditure on military. He cited multiple reasons, inevitably coming to the conclusion that the U.S. was falling behind other world superpowers and that we must fund our military to deter conflict, stating, “You don’t mess with the big dog if you know the big dog can kill you.”

Both these experiences gave Coginchaug students a view of politics. Although the House and Senate did not have the usual number of present officeholders, they allowed for students to see Congressional behavior and procedure.

Students also had the opportunity to visit the Library of Congress. A lucky group got a private tour with a security guard which took them behind the walls and showed them the structural integrity of the library. For those who don’t know, the books are held in columns that support the library itself.

As part of the visit to the Capitol, students met with Representative Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District. She spoke about the importance of getting out to vote and voting for people that accurately represent your interests. She continued by talking about case work she does for our district and how she loves her job.

Overall, the visit to the Capitol was very educational and an experience unlike any other on the trip.

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