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Local High School Students Participate In Junior Legislator Program

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Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015 5:48 pm

On Sunday, June 14, 12 students from different high schools around San Diego were selected to participate in the Junior Legislator Program. This program is designed to take highly academic and leadership minded students and put them through a three week program in order to teach them the legislative processes at the state and district levels. Throughout the course, these 12 students have learned about the process a bill goes through when it is introduced in the California State Assembly, the relationship between a district office and its’ constituents, and how to construct legislation from identifying a problem to presenting a polished bill.

The program was started in 2014 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of the 80th District and is currently run by her office. Her chief goal is to see the students involved in her program draft a bill that she can take to the Assembly with the intention of making it into a law. At the conclusion of the program on Tuesday, July 21, the students presented their finalized pieces of legislation to the Assemblywoman with the hope that one of them will become official legislation.

To celebrate the accomplishments of the junior legislators on the final day of the program, each of them received a State of California pin and a California Legislature Assembly certificate of recognition from the Assemblywoman. The junior legislators proposed two bills to the Assemblywoman, both of which were related to education. To everyone’s surprise, the Assemblywoman said that one of the bills authored by the junior legislators was very similar to one of her bills, which had made it all the way to the Senate floor that year. When she said, “I think you guys are going to get a bill from this,” the room erupted into cheers and applause!

All of the students involved wanted to learn different skills from the program. Some of these skills included better public speaking, knowledge of the legislative process a bill goes through, how to be an advocate for your community, how to be a good researcher, etc. Without exception, all of the junior legislators said they received the skills that they had wanted and more, because of the time and effort that the district office invested into them.

In a statement to the Assemblywoman, Riley Dodd said of the JLP, “All I can say is ‘wow.’ What an opportunity! It is things like this that my fellow students need to know about. The thing that stood out most to me was the discussion and debate involved in authoring a bill. What I have seen is that, with legislation in particular, the battle usually is between economics and ethics. When a balance is reached between the two, you get a bill that both sides can agree with and benefits the largest number of people. To the Assemblywoman herself I want to say thank you for this wonderful privilege.”

Five of the 12 students selected as junior legislators are from our local community. Riley Dodd, an incoming senior at Mar Vista High School, and Kiara Gonzalez Duran, Adrianna Sanchez, Caleb Encinas, and Naidelyn Hernandez, incoming seniors at Southwest High School, are the locals that were selected.

All of them have great interest in public office and are very impressed with the program. They have expressed their gratitude to the district office and the Assemblywoman for taking the time and resources to privilege them with this educational experience. In response, the Assemblywoman herself has said of the Junior Legislators, “I hope I will get the opportunity to call at least one of them my State Assemblymember someday.”

All of the local students selected for this program highly recommend it to their fellow students and the classes that will come after them. If you are a parent of one or more high school students, please feel free to contact the office of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez at the number 619-338 8090. You can find more information about her at

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  • Merediwe posted at 9:00 pm on Fri, Jul 14, 2017.

    Merediwe Posts: 2

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  • Resiles posted at 12:25 am on Fri, Jul 14, 2017.

    Resiles Posts: 3

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  • Naomi Smith posted at 7:14 am on Wed, Oct 5, 2016.

    Naomi Smith Posts: 1

    The number of programs are running by the school and they invited the other write essay online school peoples to participate their and enjoy the event. Hope local high school students who participate legislator program they learn things and enjoy knowledgeable program.