(Orange, Texas)

November 23, 2013

Youths learning about government firsthand

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — “There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it”

- William James

“One of the greatest penalties for not participating in politics is you are doomed to be ruled by your inferiors"

- Plato

Hoping to get young people more involved in local government, U.S. House of Representative Congressman Steve Stockman’s Orange office has started an intern program.

The office will select up to twelve interns at a time, with the next session to begin in January.

The current interns, the first for the office, range in age from 15-21.

Bethany Covey, 19, is studying to become a photographer.

“Every American should be involved in local and federal government,” Bethany said.

The interns said they have learned a lot about how government is connected to everyday life.

“There is only so much you can learn from a textbook,” Joah Gerstenberg, 16, said.  “Here, we can see how checks and balances work in a single branch of the government.”

Joah also said he enjoys seeing how government works and being a part of what goes on.

The interns worked on a video presentation concerning common misconceptions of the constitution.

“It required a lot of research,” Katie Covey, 21, said.

“Like freedom of speech. There are so many who view it to mean we have no limit,” Sarah Gerstenberg, 18, said. “But that is not true. You have to view it with balance and presidents set forth.”

Constituent Services Representative David Covey heads the internship program said the program is open to anyone who wants an opportunity to learn more about how government works.

“It is two to three days a week, with the days varying,” David said. “We try to stay flexible.”

David also said Congressman Stockman has seen the younger people have great ideas and energy and wanted to give them an opportunity.

“The interns have a unique talents and skills,” David said.

Katie said she believes everyone should be involved in government.

“Everyone was involved when it was our founding fathers,” Katie said. “Now people think of government as it’s own entity. It is not. We are the government. We need to be involved in how we are governed.”

Micah Covey, 16, while undecided on his future plans, said he loved learning more about government through the internship program.

For more information on the internship program one may pick up an application at the Orange office or to have one e-mailed call 883-8075. One must be at least fifteen years of age to be considered.