Since the 105-day regular legislative session ended in late April, Sen. Ann Rivers has spent countless hours driving between her southwest-Washington home and budget-negotiation meetings at the state Capitol. Today Rivers again traveled to Olympia – but this time she grabbed a sack lunch and hopped aboard a big yellow school bus filled with excited fourth-graders from Captain Strong Primary in Battle Ground.
“During the legislative session I make every effort to see students from my community who are touring the Capitol. Unfortunately my schedule doesn’t always allow that,” said Rivers, R-La Center. “When I met with teacher Sandy Montecucco earlier this year, she asked if I’d like to come along on her fourth-grade class’s field trip – from start to finish. I was thrilled to have the opportunity today to see our state government and Capitol building with fresh eyes.”
Each year approximately 20,000 students from across Washington spend a day touring the Capitol. The guided tours typically take three hours and include visits to viewing galleries for the Senate and House of Representatives, plus the offices of three top state officials: the secretary of state, the governor and lieutenant governor. Students bring sack lunches and eat them in one of several cafeterias or on the steps of the Rotunda.
“This tour program is truly a sound investment in the vitality of our state. Engaging our kids in the legislative process only makes for more-informed voters and young adults. I can’t speak highly enough about the tour staff. The depth of information they provided was amazing – and these kids were having such a great time, they had no idea how much they were learning,” said Rivers.
Educators interested in having classes visit the Capitol can find more information at http://leg.wa.gov/CivicEd/Pages/Teachers.aspx.