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Senior High students chat with Beall

Iowa senator answers questions about legislative life and work

March 2, 2009
By EMILIE NELSON Messenger staff writer

"What do you think of cell phone usage while driving?"

"How much time do you spend working at the capitol?"

"Why is the drinking age 21 when you can do everything else at 18?"

Article Photos

IOWA Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, speaks to a group of students at Fort Dodge Senior High School during a social studies class. Beall spoke about his job as a senator, explained how laws are made and answered student questions about the process.

"What kind of experience do you need to have to become a senator?"

Those were all questions that arose among students at Fort Dodge Senior High as they visited with Iowa Sen. Daryl Beall, D- Fort Dodge, in a question and answer session Friday morning.

The 27 students were in Brett Williamson's sociology class, and had just recently completed a unit on social inequality issues.

"Anytime we have the opportunity to have a legislator come speak to us, it is something we should take advantage of doing," said Williamson.

Beall briefly explained his duties as a Senator before letting students take the spotlight to ask him about issues that they are most concerned with. Although most of the students were not yet old enough to vote, Beall encouraged them to share their thoughts.

"You are all my bosses," Beall said. "As a full-time senator, I work for all of you."

When asked by junior Ayla Peet what inspired him to want to become a senator, Beall told the students one of his greatest influences was President John F. Kennedy.

"I served in the Peace Corps when I was 19, and have always felt called to service," said Beall. "Kennedy said to serve your country and your world, and that is what I enjoy doing."

Beall informed the students on the $1.9 billion stimulus package that Iowa is expected to receive, and what he hopes it can be used for.

"Can it be used to create jobs?" asked junior Brock Nekvinda.

"That is something I would like to see, " Beall said in reply to Nekvinda's question. "There are cities that are in need of improvements, and we should be able to put people to work to help make them. There was a lot of that going on during the depression, a lot places right here in Fort Dodge are examples of how the government used to put people to work."

Other students asked about the war in Iraq.

"How many troops should be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan?" asked senior Trey Messerly.

"We need to define their purpose to determine how many we need to send over there," said Beall. "The United States should have specific goals for the war and an exit strategy."

Nekvinda also asked what Beall thinks of the war.

"You can always question a war," Beall said. "But you should always honor and respect the troops for their willingness to be there and to serve this country."

After students asked Beall questions, he took the time to ask students questions asking what they felt there should or should not be laws on. Lower drinking ages and cell phone laws were some common concerns among students.

"I encourage each of you to stay in touch with me with your concerns," Beall said. "That's how we resolve issues, with your input. We get concerns and suggestions to the right people, and then we talk about them. That's how laws are made."

Contact Emilie Nelson at 573-2141 or



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