A delegate in the Virginia General Assembly rose from his seat to offer yet another opinion on a long-running debate of a transportation bill. The bill’s patron recognized the wearing effect his colleague’s lengthy comments and repeated amendments were having on the governing body. Seeking to bring the debate to conclusion, he firmly refused to yield the floor. The remaining delegates applauded and a smattering of giggles spread across the House Chamber. Skillful use of parliamentary procedures was among many lessons learned during the session. Later the delegate was commended by his colleagues for having the courage to keep the debate focused.
This civilized approach to governing took place in Virginia’s capitol, not by elected officials but by Alex Dunkenberger, representing Glenvar High School and the Roanoke Valley at the Model General Assembly delegation. The team and more than 200 high school students from across the state participated in the Virginia YMCA’s annual event.
Submitted by Doloris Vest.
Read on for a full account of the Model General Assembly.
The Roanoke Valley team, sponsored by the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board Youth Council, shepherded two bills through the legislative process. Dunkenberger was patroning a bill, written by team member senior Matt Rosendahl, creating four regional transportation commissions of elected members who would assess taxes and determine their use for transportation projects within the district. Although debate was polarized between delegates from the various regions, the bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the youth governor.
Sophmore Walker Peterson wrote a second bill, patroned by junior Brooke Bennett in the Senate and by Peterson in the House, calling for a resolution in support of “net neutrality” and encouraging the Federal Communication Commission to protect full access to the internet for all individuals and organizations. The resolution also was enacted.
The ten-member team prepared for more than six months for the three-day event held in House and Senate chambers at the Capitol. Other members included sophomores Daniel Pinard, Ryan Doroshenk, Cara Neikirk and Kendall Jenkens, junior Nick Foley and senior Tyler Doroshenk. Team advisors Martha Pinard, Paul Jenkins and Doloris Vest accompanied the youths.
A number of General Assembly members including Delegate Greg Habeeb of Salem and other elected officials from across the state joined the young people for the event.
Three students sponsored by the Salem YMCA also attended the event.