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Delegate Rich Anderson’s 2017 ‘Future Delegate Program’

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Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-51st) and his legislative staff have put the finishing touches on the 51st House District “Future Delegate Program” at the Virginia state capitol in Richmond.

Now in its fifth year, the program brings public, private, and home-schooled students from grades 7 through 12 to Capitol Square in Richmond for a day-long immersion in the legislative processes of the Virginia General Assembly. The Future Delegate Program focuses on the policy process and exposes students and families to legislative life in Richmond. The goal is for students to return home with a greater appreciation for the business of the Virginia House of Delegates, where Del. Anderson has served for seven years since retiring from the US Air Force as a colonel after a 30-year military career.  Anderson’s aim is to convince students why they should enter public service as their life’s calling.

Anderson was motivated to provide this civics opportunity by his service as chair of the Virginia Commission on Civics Education. The delegate stated that “a well-rounded civics education is being crowded out by other disciplines, so we need to be watchful that students are exposed to ways in which they can engage in the civic life of their communities across Virginia. Civics is the discipline that leads to trust, civility, and respect in government and politics.”

Students will be exposed to a wide range of activity while in Richmond, and they will have an opportunity to see first-hand the business of the House Science and Technology Committee that Anderson chairs. Additionally, the delegate co-chairs the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus with Sen. Bryce Reeves, meaning that students will learn more about the work of Anderson, Reeves, and their colleagues on behalf of 800,000 Virginia military veterans. Because only one student will participate each day, they experience quality one-on-one time with Anderson, who often has the student sit with him in committee and subcommittee meetings and takes them to meetings with other delegates and senators, the leadership of the House, and other senior officials. They also participate in Senate hearings that might be scheduled and assist Anderson with press conferences if one is scheduled during their visit to the Capitol.

The program has proven to be immensely popular and has graduated some 200 students over the last five years. Anderson’s program is the first-ever at the Capitol and touches a large number of Prince William County students. The delegate considers it “my most important outreach to young people in our community who wish to serve our Commonwealth at the state level and our Constitutional Republic at the federal level.”

Now that students have completed their applications, dates are being assigned to specific students and their families who will accompany them to Richmond. Anderson looks forward to the arrival of the first Future Delegate Program student in January and says that “each will have a ring-side seat on how we make policy and make life better for eight million Virginians.”

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