The biggest highlight of Environmental Day at the 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 of Environmental Day was the lack of interest shown by some of our politicians. One group of students from Flagstaff had requested time with Senator Sylvia Allen, Representative Walter Blackman, and Representative 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 Senator Juan Mendez from District 26 did show up however. Not only did he show up, but he spent almost an hour with these 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? Representative Thorpe even walked through the event outside the Capitol, 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.