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Lawmakers were not well behaved

I AM a 16-year-old home school student from Rhode Island. Recently I worked in Massachusetts with the Coalition for Marriage. I did phone banking, lobbying, and went to the rally at Boston Common. On Feb. 13, I went to the Constitutional Convention at the State House, arriving there with a group of students at 7:30 a.m. We were the first people in the doors. I stood in line until 1:30 p.m. so that I could enter the House gallery. I was excited to watch this debate since it was a subject dear to my heart. Not only had I spent many hours encouraging people to get involved with this issue, many people I know spent weeks doing the same thing.


While we were sitting in the House gallery watching this debate, I was appalled at the lack of respect these senators and representatives had for one another, and for Senate President Robert Travaglini, who presided over the convention. I sat amazed at the fact that the president had to speak to them at least five times just to tell them to be quiet. They would get up and leave. They would stand there and talk to each other rather than pay attention to what the other had to state at the well. Then they would come back in and vote on these issues.

These are our leaders. The people elected these officials into office to deal with the issues close at hand. As I sat there watching, I felt dismayed at what I was seeing.

The president actually said at one point, "the people in the gallery are behaving better than the members of the House and Senate." I was amazed by the apparent lack of attention the legislators sometimes gave to the matter being discussed. I question whether they were really listening, and fairly representing the people who elected them.

These men and women are supposed to be role models for the younger generations that are interested in politics. When young students are better behaved than their state legislators, then we have a problem!


Burrillville, R.I.

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