Legislators in the making

At the Sanitation District of Los Angeles County, on Jan. 31, the Young Legislators pose with Assemblymember Cristina Garcia after their lunch break. The students listened on as Garcia gave them a run down of how her life as a legislator was going.

Natalie Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Section Editor/ Staff Writer

On Jan. 31, seven students from Downey High School attended the first meeting for the Young Legislators Program, at the Sanitation District of Los Angeles County, along with students from neighboring high schools.


The Young Legislator Program is the creation of assembly member Cristina Garcia to teach students about the legislative process and to get them more involved in their local communities. This program is exclusively for high school seniors who reside under the 58th district.


Senior Karen Sanchez was one of the select few Downey High School students who were accepted into the program in early December.


“From my experience so far, I can say that this program is educating its members to understand the role that legislation plays in our community,” Sanchez said. “At the sanitation district, we learned the process of how water is recycled and the benefits to putting reclaimed water to use.”


Sanchez applied to the program because she wanted to learn more about what legislators do within our community. She also plans to take on a career in law or at least be involved with the government in the future.


Leslie Fernandez, 12, was also one of the students who was accepted into the Young Legislators Program. Fernandez plans on following a career along the lines of law and legislation and will be majoring in political science after high school.


“The first meeting was an eye opener for me because I was able to experience and learn about what happens around all our local areas,” Fernandez said. “The Sanitation District is an awesome place and it does so much for our community and many others; I do not believe that they get the credit they deserve.”


Fernandez believes that being a part of this program with further her understanding of law and all of the litigations that go along with being legislator or with working within the government spectrum.


Patrick Sunpanich is the senior assistant to the assembly member Cristina Garcia and is the one who usually leads the young legislators during their monthly meetings.

“Upon completion of this program, participating individuals will have cultivated a thorough understanding of legislative politics and will be well-equipped with the means necessary to become ‘leaders of tomorrow,’” Sunpanich said.


The Young Legislator Program will go on until July 2015. By the end of the program, the participants will take a trip up to Sacramento, California to visit the state capitol and hold a simulated trial of passing a legislative bill.