By Julia Poole and Sabrina Agazzi, Online Feature Editor and Copy Editor
// Acalanes High School students met with Congressman Mark DeSaulnier via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 29 to discuss current issues in the United States and the importance of the upcoming election.
The 11th Congressional District, which includes the Lamorinda area, elected DeSaulnier in 2014. This year, DeSaulnier is the Democratic candidate up for re-election against Republican Nisha Sharma.
Acalanes Comparative Government teacher Kristen Anderson invites the Congressman every four years to inform interested students about the importance of civic engagement.
“I am very proud of the fact that I’ve fostered a connection between Congressman DeSaulnier, my students, and the wider school community. Regardless of students’ political persuasion, they should have an opportunity to be heard and learn how to engage in constructive civil discourse with elected public officials,” Anderson said.
During the meeting, DeSaulnier discussed several topics, including the California wildfires, police reform, immigration, and the controversial reopening of schools.
Seven students asked DeSaulnier questions and voiced their concerns regarding major current issues in the country. Many of the attendees appreciated the Congressman’s supportive responses.
“There are many issues that concern me because they directly affect my future. Climate change, abortion, and women’s rights are ones that have an impact on me and my generation. It is good to know that [DeSaulnier] backs them and will support them,” junior Stella Bobrowsky said.
Other students, however, didn’t feel as though DeSaulnier distinctly answered their questions.
“I found it disheartening that he wasn’t able to talk about his policy on the LGBTQ+ community. While he did share anecdotes, he really didn’t say anything regarding his policy, or what he was trying to accomplish regarding the LGBTQ+ community,” junior Kyle Thomason said.
Overall, DeSaulnier’s approach to bipartisan issues resonated with most of the attendees.
“He said a lot of his job is building relationships. I thought that was so interesting and underscored that our Congressman cares. He’s not isolated or closed off. He represents all of his constituents, not just those that voted for him,” Anderson said.