The following essays were written by Monroe Consolidated School seventh- and eighth-grade students after interviewing five local residents and researching a person who contributed to the United States of America in the past.

By Alex Laflamme

The Monroe Middle School interviewed five local politicians to find out how people can be involved in government and what inspired them to do what they do. The students interviewed Joe Kenney, Brad Bailey, Dolly McPhaul, Denis Ward and Wendy Stavseth. All of these citizens had people in their past who inspired them and all of them said that it is important to look at both sides of an issue.

Inspiration was important to all of these citizens. They all had someone who influenced them to do what they are doing now. For an example Joe Kenney's older brother was someone that inspired him to be a leader, "Every team needs a leader just like every town or issue." Going to town meetings when they were kids or being involved in political issues when they were young made a difference.

Listening to both sides of the issue was something that came up commonly. Joe Kenney said that, "politics is the art of compromise." Joe Kenney's job as an executive councilor requires him to listen to both sides of the story to get things accomplished.

In contrast, Dolly McPhaul was just in on one issue, she is fighting against the Northern Pass. She doesn't agree with the other side of her issue. She saw no advantage and she had made up her mind. When you look at both sides of the issue you can see where both sides are coming from. If you have seen both sides of the issue and you don't see a benefit from the other side then sometimes you just have to fight for what you think is right, just like Dolly McPhaul.

It is important to listen to both sides of an argument, however depending on your position, the outcome of the argument may differ. Listening to both sides of the issue has many benefits, such as getting elected or winning over the issue. If I were interested in being involved in the government, I would go to town meetings like Denis Ward or I would ask my elders like what Joe Kenney did. I now see how important it is to listen to both sides of an issue or argument.

By Tyler Vosinek

People often wonder how we keep the government up and running the way it is. There are many things needed to have a successful government. In the U.S., we have a successful government and it did not just happen overnight. Two important things that are used by politicians are compromise, and realizing how politics can get socially difficult. One example of a state representative is Brad Bailey. Though he isn't known nationally, he is still a very important official. Whether someone is nationally known or someone is only known statewide, no matter how high you are in the "chain", people have the same goals, politically.

The "key" to politics is compromise. In order to get what you want, you have to compromise with people rather than just demanding it. A technique used by many candidates during the running, is going to peoples' houses and informing them about who they are, and why voting for them is worth their vote. They often win votes by compromising with people. Whether you are voting for state representative, or the U.S. president you have to be able to listen to people and compromise with them if you are going to be successful politically.

Politics can often lead to controversy among social circles, and more often than not, someone is going to be upset no matter what. Everything leads back to compromise. Not everyone is going to be happy, but a politician always does their best to make almost everyone happy. One way politics can get socially difficult is when somebody has their mind set on one thing, and they aren't willing to take other ideas into consideration. Another way politics can get socially difficult is if you and your friend have different political beliefs, you may not want to talk about politics because it may cause controversy in your friendship.

Though one politician may have a higher status than another politician, they often have the same goals. If you ask any politician, there is a good chance they will agree that the key to politics is compromise. There may also be social issues while you're on the job, but it always leads back to compromise. If you are open to talking, and change, there's a greater chance that you will end up being satisfied. Most people will say you need to listen to both sides of the story and be open. The root to almost all success in politics is compromise.

By Jarrett Ward

The seventh and eighth graders at Monroe school have been studying how local citizens can get involved in their government. They interviewed four local people and Joe Kenney, an executive councilor to Gov. Maggie Hassan.

One person, Denis Ward, was inspired by his father. Denis is the moderator for the town of Monroe, N.H. In addition, he manages a farm and is part of the agricultural committee. He interacts with representatives to discuss laws and equipment for the farming community. Representatives are people who represent their town or their state as part of the government. Denis likes to be on a farm and taking care of what he loves.

There are many ways for people to get involved in their local government. Some people get involved by going to the town meeting and watching the town citizens debate important topics. Others may help representatives by volunteering to assist with community projects or elections. Being passionate about a special topic or community projects can also get people involved. People can also call and talk to your legislator.

Having a passion for a topic can lead you to become involved in your local government. Denis Ward's love for farming is an example of how being passionate for a topic can lead you to becoming involved in your local government and having your voice heard.

By Tracy Cohen

Three weeks ago the 7-8 graders at Monroe Consolidated School were interviewing people who are involved in state, or local government. Out of the five people we interviewed, two were focused on single issues, and three were focused on multiple issues. One person who we interviewed specifically stood out to me. He explained to us how he is involved in our government, and how the government works.

Joe Kenney was elected on March 11, 2014 to serve on the Executive Council of District One at a special election in Bath, New Hampshire. He is one of five Executive Councilors to the governor. Joe Kenney represents all the towns and cities in the counties of Coos and Grafton County. His job is to make sure that the voices of the families, business owners, and town officials are heard from his district, and that he communicates these voices to the Governor. The Executive Council only serves for two terms.

The seventh and eighth graders asked Mr. Kenney what was one of the biggest accomplishments he has made? "There isn't really one big accomplishment, it's the ability to help thousands of people solve their problems." Joe Kenney is a genuine, compassionate, pleasant, and cheerful man who tries to do his best to make everyone happy and does a magnificent job.

Some people might ask why government is so important, why do we have it? Well it's a very important topic. People should be aware of what is going on in their community and state. For example, go to the town meeting, and if there is something that you really don't like you should get up and fight against it. Get involved! But at the same time you need to listen to others and maybe they can help you. Another thing that you might want to know is what are the three branches of government? There is the Legislative Branch which is made up of congress which is the senate, and house of representatives. They introduce the laws. The Executive Branch is made up of the president, vice president, and his cabinet. They veto bills, set nationwide agendas, and make treaties. The last branch is the Judicial Branch, they are the Supreme Court, and other judges. They decide if laws are constitutional. I bet you just learned some things you didn't know.

The students from Monroe Consolidated School learned a lot from interviewing community leaders. It was an amazing experience to see all the different opinions from different people involved in government. One thing that Mr. Kenney made clear was that it doesn't matter how old you are, get involved, and be a leader if you want. You don't have to do a lot, just go to your town meetings, the school board, or the selectmen. It doesn't matter if it's a big or small issue, if you want something to change you need to talk to people so they can help you solve the problem. You have rights. Use them.

By Sophia Beardsley

As a class we interviewed five government participants using a series of questions. One participant's interview that stood out to me was Dolly McPhaul's. Because of her courageous qualities as leader she reminded me of a civil rights activist of the past.

Sojourner Truth was born in Swartekill, in Ulster County, N.Y. She grew up in slavery and had a rough life. She was abused both sexually and physically. She had many children and two husbands, one by love and the other by force. This woman was in the movement to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. She wrote a speech called Ain't I a women. This speech inspired thousands of women. This leader fought for civil rights freedom.

Mrs. McPhaul is another inspiring woman, who is very much against the Northern Pass. The Northern Pass is a $1.4 billion transmission infrastructure project. It will bring 1,200 megawatts of energy from Québec's hydroelectric plants in Canada, to southern New England. McPhaul is against this idea 100 percent. She was telling our class that huge metal poles will interfere with the beautiful views that locals and tourists enjoy all over the north country. These towers will decrease value of their houses and ruin their views. This problem was one issue that lit a spark under Mrs. McPhaul. McPhaul has been working against this issue for 41/2 years. She visited the 7/8th class and answered our questions about government. McPhaul is a passionate women who made us see the other side of government. "The voice of the people seems to be forgotten when dealing with major companies." "There's compromise in government, there's a yes and a no, I work hard and get what I want."

Sojourner Truth was a civil rights leader in the past and wrote speeches that inspired the world today. Just like McPhaul, Truth had a single issue she focused on. Both women put all of their time and energy into these projects. These local and historical figures remind us women that we have a voice and we can project it as loud as we want.

By Reagan Ford

About a month ago, the 7th and 8th grade middle school class in Monroe interviewed people who are involved in local government. They asked each of them the same questions, but the most critical question was; "What is the most important thing that you want the kids to learn from you today?" And every single one of them said; Get involved. Another person who agreed with this is the famous president known as Ronald Reagan.

The boys and girls of Monroe Consolidated School interviewed 5 different people. The 5 people consisted of Brad Bailey, (a state representative) Denis Ward, ( town moderator) Joe Kenney, (Executive Councilor), Dolly McPhaul, and Wendy Stavseth. (Involved citizens)

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table," said Ronald Reagan. In this quote, he explains that every single bill or law starts in one person's mind. And then only some people will choose to share it. Everything starts with one person, and without people, democracy is dead. Without ideas, nothing will change.

Most people involved in the government strongly believe in getting involved. The kids asked the political leaders that were willing to come to their school, what the most important thing they wanted the class to learn from this experience and they all said to understand more about our government. "Democracy is dead when you don't participate, you need to know about your government," said Wendy Stavseth during her interview. Denis Ward was especially concerned about children being apart of today's government. "Everyone should get involved, and it shows real intelligence when a child gives their part." Brad Bailey agreed, "Encourage yourself, and your parents to get involved." Nobody could disagree.

In the end, the children learned lots from their experience with these intelligent leaders. They learned about all the different jobs there are in the political business, and what it's like to be someone involved in the government. The kids learned lots from present, and past government leaders. So, in the words of Ronald Reagan "Some people wonder all of their lives if they've made a difference, Government officials don't have that problem."

By Eliza Cowell

Is democracy truly "Of the people," "By the people," and "For the people?" The seventh and eighth graders at Monroe Consolidated School have been researching, and interviewing people who are part of the Government, to answer a question many people have been wondering, "Why Do We Need Government?" During this quest they have found many similarities and differences between the leaders. Although these people of interest have been working in the government at different time frames, there are some things they do the same, and some very different.

Brad Bailey, a State Representative For New Hampshire, went to the Monroe Consolidated School, and was interviewed by the 7/8 grade class. Brad spends most of his time fixing and compromising on problems the people of his district (Grafton County) have. He also spends his time representing the people of his district. The students asked questions about his career and what propelled him to get involved with the government. Because his parents are Italian, and their ancestors came to America and created a better life for themselves, he thought that joining and becoming a part of the government would give back to America and show thanks for creating a good life for him. This is what propelled him to become a leader.

Another person the 7/8 interviewed was Denis Ward. Denis takes on a big role in the farming and agricultural community. He also was part of the school board, and moderates the town meetings. Denis was asked the same questions as Brad, and both said that their parents and other leaders around them had big impacts on their decision to become a part of the government. They also both agreed that the only way students can truly learn about the the way their country is governed is to "get involved" and become leaders themselves.

Along with interviewing people in our local government, the students researched and discovered facts about one person in particular who made a bigger impact on the U.S, such as a president, or activist. For example, I researched President Woodrow Wilson, and with the information found, compared him to the people who were interviewed.

Due to a large difference in the time period, President Wilson didn't have many similarities to the people interviewed, because there were different issues at hand. But there was at least one similarity he had with one of the interviewees, it was the ability to compromise and find common ground between issues. President Wilson, spent most of his political career establishing treaties, to keep the U.S out of World War 1. Although we still entered the war, the devastation was minimized by his efforts. Brad Bailey also spends his political time solving the issues that arise in his district. Whenever a person with a problem brings it to his attention, he will do everything in his power to solve the issue, and make the complainant happy again. Solving these problems isn't as easy as it seems. In some cases compromising is the key. Both of these leaders have established a great ability to work with others, and compromise.

Of course we need government, we have and always will. As stated before, there are still similarities between the leaders of then, and now. Although times have changed, the need for government never will. Government establishes leadership, accommodation, and tranquility between towns, states, and nations. Even though the problems of then and now are different, the solutions are similar, with understanding and compromising.

By Natalie Deschamps

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" - Plato. This quote was as true 2,000 years ago as it is today. In order for our government to work, people need to partake in U.S. civic and political life. Without peoples participation our government would not function the way it was intended, and things, from a political view, would change drastically.

There are many people in our community who are getting involved in U.S. civic and political life every day. One of those people is Wendy Stavseth, a former teacher at Monroe Consolidated School who is now working on the Health Care is a Human Right Act in Vermont. Mrs. Stavseth, along with hundreds of other American's, strongly believe that everyone should be able to seek medical care without the fear of being torn down for financial reasons. In order to pass a law that allows healthcare for every American, Mrs. Stavseth and other involved citizens have to "build their army". Everyday Mrs. Stavseth makes hundreds of phone calls, dozens of house trips, and emails till her fingers almost fall off. When Mrs. Stavseth does these things, she isn't thinking of the benefit it will have on her, she is thinking of the impact it will have on others. "If you want to make a difference, think beyond yourself." -- Wendy Stavseth

There are hundreds of ways that you can actively participate in your local or national government. You can go to your school board meeting, make an appearance at your town meetings, support issues others are involved in, or even start a campaign yourself! By taking time out of your life to help others and support your town and country, you can know that you helped make a difference and made someone else's life better.

Without people like Wendy Stavseth, who are willing to give up time to support important issues, our government would be much different. People need to get involved in their government. After all, it was built of the people, by the people, and for the people.

By Abby Morris

"A settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims; principals etc., by reciprocal mortification of demands." Is the definition of compromise...

Compromise is very important in government because sometimes you can always get someone to see you're point of view. So settling in the middle is sometimes hard but its possible.

The seventh and eighth graders sat down with Mr. Brad Bailey to talk about his experience in government. They asked him a page of questions. One question they asked him was, "how do you try to understand other people's perspective, when there's a disagreement how do you get groups of people to come to an agreement." Bailey responded by saying, "politics is the art of compromise," and compromise can be an art. As they sat down with four other government representatives, another person who really understood the "art of compromise" was Wendy Stavseth.

Mrs. Stavseth got involved to find a better healthcare system for Vermont. When the seventh and eighth graders asked her about compromise, she said, "'listening' is the most important thing for compromise." Stavseth often talks with people who may not agree with her about the issue, but she finds that listening to their stories helps them agree on changes that could be made.

Compromise can be difficult but it is the key to actually getting things accomplished. "Truth is the glue that holds the government together. Compromise is the oil that makes the government go." -- Gerald Ford

By Breanna Fearon

Even throughout the test of time, some similarities within politics never fade. Some of the same concepts that were necessary back when politics began, when humans were just hunters and gatherers, are still necessary now. Some similarities between local/community leaders includes: listening to each other and being devoted to the issue you feel strongly about. Nothing would have ever been accomplished so many years ago if no accommodations were made by listening to each other to find a common ground. These key parts of the political timeline may have never been created without political leaders finding a compromise, or trying to make a long lasting impression on the community, and future generations to come.

The 7/8 grade class at Monroe Consolidated School interviewed five individuals that are community leaders around Monroe. Some messages the interviewees left with the class include getting involved, staying educated on the political arguments around the community, and really listening to others in debates to learn both sides of an argument. One person that left a positive impact in my mind was Brad Bailey. Mr. Bailey has been involved in politics for about 20 years and now is the State Representative for Grafton 14 (7 towns). If there's an issue in his district, he takes care of it as quickly as possible, helping people is one of his favorite parts of the job. "It's all volunteer."

Along with Brad Bailey, the class interviewed another leader who takes politics in a different direction, Wendy Stavseth. Wendy Stavseth is more of a one issue person. She focuses more on the "Single Payer Healthcare System in Vermont," trying to ensure that everyone who needs Health Care has the opportunity to get it. She's been campaigning for a long time in the hopes that her work will help to get the message she's campaigning for across. Mrs. Stavseth looks to help, not only herself, but others that the laws would affect. "You want to make a difference, you want to think beyond yourself."

Both Brad Bailey and Wendy Stavseth are positive local, and community leaders. From a multiple issue person, to a one issue person. From an elected official, to a citizen with a voice. From someone who has to see multiple views and make a compromise, to someone who is really focused on a few issues. These almost opposite citizens are both positive people to talk to, but also stand up for what they believe and feel is the right thing to do. These political leaders, Brad Bailey and Wendy Stavseth, really help people understand how two very different people, can both be leaders in their own ways.


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