HANFORD — Lakeside Elementary School received a special visitor during class on
Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, talked to fifth-grade students at the school about his
job and how government works. He also answered students’ questions, ranging from the silly to
the serious. His visit was part of a special project for the Liberty Day Organization, a group that
aims to educate people about the U.S. Constitution.
“I just want to help kids understand their government,” Valadao said. “I hope they will
remember this experience and that it will help them become well-educated and productive
In honor of Constitution Day in September, Valadao invited schools to write to him with
questions about the Constitution. Out of the schools that participated, Lakeside Elementary was
chosen at random for Valadao to visit.
On Wednesday, Valadao spoke to the students about the bill-writing process, how bills are
passed into law as well as how voting is done. Many students asked questions such as “Is
Washington scary?” and “Do you have a mansion?” However, a few students asked more serious
questions, including one about the status of immigration reform.
“We’re working on it,” Valadao told the students. “The problem is that it’s not just about passing
a law. It’s a whole process that involves many people and organizations working together.”
Before he left, Valadao encouraged the students to work hard in school and pursue their dreams.
“One day, you could take my job or even become president if you work hard enough,” he said.
Superintendent Dale Ellis said it’s important that the students know how government works on
both a local and national level, which is why they often discuss current events in class and watch
some news in the morning. He said civics and government is one of the most important subjects
taught at the school.
“We’re guided by the Constitution, as it drives all decision-making in the country, so it’s
important for them to know the document,” he said. “I also hope Valadao’s visit will give them a
better understanding of the world and what’s out there.”
Ellis said he was impressed that Valadao would take time out of his schedule to visit the school.
He said the congressman appears to be a sincere, honest person who wants to help the people in
“The students don’t fully understand the importance of being a congressman, but I think he gave
them a better idea of it,” Ellis said. “It’s good for the kids to see that these are real people and not
someone far away. They’re real people that struggle to make the right decisions for everyone.”
Ellis said he believes that Valadao had an impact on the kids, although it might take some time to
sink in. The fifth-grade teachers are helping with that by following up Valadao’s visit with a
discussion on some of the important things the students learned.
Ellis said that he may write letters to other lawmakers to see if they would be interested in
coming to the school and speaking to students.
The reporter can be reached at 583-2429 and at [email protected] Follow him on