Verona may have some politicians in the making after history students spent a class period Wednesday, discussing politics with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th District).
Verona High School history and social sciences teacher Christopher Tamburro, who stresses being involved in government and decision making to all his students, organized the congressman’s visit.
“Students should directly experience the government as much as possible so that they are inclined to participate as educated voters and citizens in the future,” he said.
Last fall, Frelinghuysen won his 10th two-year term in the House of Representatives when he defeated former Roseland Mayor John Arvanites to serve constituents in the reconfigured district. The district cuts a swath across towns in Essex, Morris and Passaic counties.
Frelinghuysen gave a brief introduction but spent most of the 45-minute class period answering questions, which Tamburro labeled, “phenomenal.”
The students posed questions from the mundane - the daily life of a congressman - to current political issues.
“Students asked about his work hours and why he is in Congress,” said Tamburro. “He spoke about the history of his family, which has been in politics since the 1700's, his daily duties and requirements of the job.”
Students and Frelinghuysen also discussed the Connecticut school shooting and gun control, the Republican party, women and Latino populations and the ability of the political parties to work together.
“He answered thoroughly and avoided saying there was one way to think about something,” said Tamburro. “He wasn't there to spread his views and he spoke about both sides of each argument.”
“He gave some pretty frank answers about taxation but also demonstrated the need to pay for the government,” he said.
Tamburro hopes that some of his students may contemplate a future in politics or government services.
“The students were inquisitive, interested, wanted to ask questions and wanted to be involved, all qualities I like to see in a government representative,” he said. “I only hope they take those skills and move forward.”