Assemblyman Troy Singleton Teaches Eastampton Students Ins And Outs Of Legislative Branch

EASTAMPTON — Jason Jeffries didn't think much of it as he raised his hand to answer Assemblyman Troy Singleton's question: "Who doesn't care about politics?"

Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, immediately called the eighth-grader to the front of the room filled with over 70 of his classmates, gave Jason his pin, and told him he was going to be the assemblyman for the day. 

"I was a little bit nervous, because I didn't know if I'd be able to answer all of the questions," Jason said.

Singleton was on hand Thursday at the Eastampton Community School to teach a civics lesson to the eighth-grade class.

Using Jason, Singleton showed the students how an idea from one of the 120 state legislators can turn into a bill, which can end up becoming state law.

He introduced "Jason's Law," which proposed that all the female students would have to do all of the homework for the boys, as well as for themselves. 

Jason and Singleton started by introducing the bill in the Assembly Education Committee, which approved it and sent it to the full Assembly. After it passed there, they took their measure to the Senate Education Committee, got its approval, and brought it before the Senate president, who introduced it to the entire Senate.

"You might keep that pin," Singleton told Jason with a laugh. 

They got Senate approval, but then the governor, eighth-grader Gaduwo Forkpah, vetoed it.

"I think everyone should do their homework equally, boys and girls," Gaduwo said to a room full of cheers. 

Besides teaching the children the basics of creating laws, Singleton stressed why politics is important and how it can impact their lives. He asked the students to name some issues they cared about and wanted to fix.

They offered up affordable housing, poverty, homelessness and state requirements for education.

"I probably get about 50 emails a day," Singleton told the students, and said many of them are on different topics that concern his constituents. 

The students also asked the assemblyman about his thoughts on modern-day issues and problems, such as the soda tax in Philadelphia and President Donald Trump's travel ban

He said he thought the intentions of the tax were good, but the implementation has caused a few problems.

"I know two people who lost their jobs," Singleton said, and pointed out it was likely a result of the tax.

On the revised travel ban, Singleton said, "All of us want to see a safe country." 

However, he said, this one was "misguided in structure" and seemed to arbitrarily block people from coming to the United States.

He urged the students to use their voices and resources to address issues they care about. "If there's something that's important to you, you make sure your voice is heard," he said. 

Singleton said one of the best ways to enact change is to get involved in politics, even at a young age like 12 or 13. 

"If you just observe, you get the government you deserve," he said, quoting his grandmother.

Jason said one of the biggest things he learned was that getting involved in politics affects everyday lives.

"Things that you can do can actually benefit your state and your country," he said.

Alex Zazzo, 13, said she had a desire to go into politics, and listening to Singleton helped.

"I thought it was cool, because I've always considered politics as a career because I enjoy debate," Alex said. 

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