Congressman Keating holds Q&A with Wareham history students

Oct 16, 2015

It's not just the anchors at Fox and CNN who get a chance to ask politicians tough questions. Social Studies students at Wareham High School got to do just that Thursday morning, when U.S. Rep. Bill Keating visited the school.

As part of their coursework on critical thinking, the students were given the opportunity to ask the congressman whatever was on their mind. Keating gave the young crowd of about 50 students seated in the auditorium two points of advice, before hearing their questions.

“Don't ever let anyone – whether you're going to run for office, participate or have an opinion – don't ever let them say you're too young,” Keating said. “You have more at stake in the issues than people of my generation.”

“More and more, no matter what you do for a living, you have to have a view and understanding for jobs of what's going on in the rest of the world," Keating continued. "We have a global economy now, so what happens in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia will undoubtedly affect your jobs.

Students asked Keating whom he was supporting in the presidential race. Though Keating said he typically doesn't decide so early on, he is supporting Hillary Clinton, saying that he feels she's very prepared to take on the role of President.

Keating was also asked a series of questions about his thoughts on Donald Trump.

“On the good side of the ledger, he's brought a lot of attention, and more people are watching, more people are listening, more people have an opinion," Keating said. "On the bad side of the ledger, his rhetoric is inflammatory and divisive.”

The students also asked Keating how he decides which bills he'll to try to pass. Keating answered that he usually works on legislation related to Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security, which he told them are two of the committees he works on. He also mentioned he is working hard on legislation dealing with the opiate crisis, seeing as how hard it has hit Massachusetts.

Keating was asked about his thoughts on standardized testing. Keating said he becomes concerned when there are cut-offs when standards aren't met, but that he sees these types of tests as important diagnostic tools.

When the students asked what advice he would give someone wanting to go into politics, he suggested looking into internships that might be out there, but also said, “If you have a desire for a dream, don't let anyone talk you out of it, and don't cross things off the list. You never know what opportunities might come.”

Following the Q&A session with the students, Congressman Keating said he was very impressed with the questions that the students asked.

“It's a good group, just the little time I was here,” Keating said. “They're very open minded about how there's different ways to accomplish goals and make things better.”

Wareham High School Principal Scott Palladino said guest speakers are "always are impressed with our kids."

"Some of these kids were as young as eighth graders in our dual-enrollment program," Palladino said. "I think it's good for our kids to have a local politician come in and talk about what they're dealing with, and obviously where they want to see things going in the future.”