The biggest highlight of Environmental Day at the state capitol on Jan. 5 was the number of students who attended. They were mostly high schoolers from Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff and other places as well. They were there because they have an interest in how our state government works and because they have questions for our lawmakers concerning the environment. One of the features of Environmental Day is for our politicians to make themselves available to the people to discuss their concerns.
The biggest disappointment was the lack of interest shown by some of our politicians. One group of students from Flagstaff had requested time with Sen. Sylvia Allen, Rep. Walter Blackman and Rep. Bob Thorpe. Allen had already turned them down in the past, so they didn’t expect much from her, but Blackman and Thorpe, who both represent Flagstaff, agreed to meet with them. The students waited and waited, but both Blackman and Thorpe were no-shows, and of course Allen as well.
State Sen. Juan Mendez from District 26 did show up. He also spent almost an hour with the students from Flagstaff, listening to what they had to say and answering their questions, and he wasn’t even from their district.
There is no question that these politicians are busy, but wouldn’t it have been decent to let these young citizens know they couldn’t, or wouldn’t keep their appointment with them? Rep. Thorpe even walked through the event, but never stopped to engage them. Wouldn’t it have been decent to at least send someone in their place? But to ignore their own constituents is disappointing, disgusting and disturbing, and no way to treat future voters.