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Students shadow legislators

Lake Park-Audubon FCCLA student Breann Hogie shadowed Rep. Andrea Kieffer, District 53B. Submitted Photo

What do the Legacy Foundation and K-12 school finance have in common? 

Both topics were discussed in the Minnesota legislative committee sessions.   Lake Park-Audubon Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Regional Officers Nellie Branchaud and Rilee Burnside and chapter officer Breann Hogie shadowed the Minnesota legislative session on Tuesday, March 12.

Each of the students applied for the opportunity under the FCCLA Legislative Shadow Program and was selected to spend a day with a legislator.

Nellie Branchaud and Rep. Mary Franson, District 08B

Branchaud shadowed Rep. Mary Franson, from Minnesota District 08B.  Franson is on the Early Childhood and Youth Development committee. Branchaud was able to interview the representative and sit in on the committee session. 

“One of the main issues they discussed in committee was funding for early childhood education. There were several individuals that testified as to benefits of having young children be exposed at an early age to a structured educational environment,” Branchaud said. 

Burnside shadowed Rep. Joe McDonald from Minnesota District 29A.  McDonald serves on the Legacy committee. Burnside was very impressed with the time he took to visit and explain the legislative process.

Rilee Burnside and Rep. Joe McDonald, District 29A

“Rep. McDonald asked several questions during the Legacy Committee Hearings as to how funds would be used and funding sources maintained for the various projects,” Burnside said.

Hogie shadowed Rep. Andrea Kieffer, from District 53B.  Kieffer sits on the Jobs and Economic Development committee. 

“I was impressed with her assertive stance on issues and asked me some very specific questions about my role as a FCCLA member,” Hogie said. 

All three students were impressed overall with the experience and are grateful for the opportunity. As part of their experience, the students were able to share with the legislators about the great things schools are doing in rural Minnesota. 

“Many times we feel that the metro area is the focus of educational legislation, and out-state Minnesota is forgotten. These students had an opportunity to share their own hopes and dreams for their generation,” LPA FCCLA Advisor Cheryl Hogie said.

The Legislative Shadow experience was organized by the state Family Career and Community Leaders of America organization. There are over 2,300 members of FCCLA in the state of Minnesota. FCCLA is the student organization that supports the Family and Consumer Science curriculum.