Belmont students learn about legislative process from state senator

Fourth-graders at Belmont Elementary School have been a captive audience this semester as they learn about the three branches of government. They’ve already read numerous books on the subject, including “The Birth of the American Democracy” and “A Day in the Senate.”

On Jan. 12, they heard firsthand from a Nebraska state senator and LPS alum what it’s like to be front and center in the legislative process.

State Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln visited the school and told the story of her personal political journey - from a curious high school student active in “We the People” debate competitions to a first-term state senator who now sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee in the Nebraska Legislature.

“At first I didn’t think about public office - as a woman, I didn’t see a lot of women politicians,” said Wishart, who attended Prescott Elementary School, Irving Middle School and Southeast High School.

That changed, however, when she heard a female state senator speak at a luncheon. Inspired, she ran for and was elected to the Lincoln Airport Authority in 2011. In 2016, she was elected to the State Legislature to serve the 27th District, which includes a large portion of west Lincoln.

Wishart described to the students what it’s like to be a state senator - serving on committees, working with other senators, introducing bills and eventually seeing those bills become laws. The students’ ears perked up when Wishart described one bill in particular she introduced, for a law that cracked down on puppy mills.

One of the students, Torsten, called Wishart’s visit “amazing.” He came away understanding the importance of her work at the Capitol.

“Senators are part of the Legislative branch and if you take out the senators then it’s not whole...and they can’t create and pass laws.”


Published: January 18, 2018, Updated: January 18, 2018