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Coolumn: Delta Force students participate in Government Day

ESCANABA — The latest Delta Force session focused on government, with students learning from State Senator Ed McBroom and other area municipal and government leaders. Government Day, the sixth session of this year’s Delta Force Class, was held at the Delta County Commerce Center. To start the day, everyone was treated to breakfast provided by Walmart of Escanaba.

Government presentation from Senator Ed McBroom

Senator McBroom then presented to the Delta Force students on state government, and told his personal story of why he felt the need to run for office. He then told the students how they too can get involved. Students were inspired by McBroom’s enthusiasm for his job, and felt that his information was extremely valuable.

“While I don’t agree with all of his politics, the passion and care that Senator Ed McBroom has for the community is very impressive,” Delta Force student Jason Hamre said. “Hearing his story makes me confident that the partisanship doesn’t really matter as long as the person genuinely cares and is interested in helping the community. Politically, I am more left-leaning, and he is more on the right side of the spectrum, but none of that really matters. Ed McBroom really cares about the community and making it a better place. We need more leaders like Senator McBroom.”

Students then heard from Connie Wells about steps to take in running for office, as well as a presentation by DATA Executive Director Jon Stapleton. Students were able to ask questions and share their experiences.

Mock City Commission Meeting

Students then took part in a mock city commission meeting, facilitated by local business owner Craig Lauerman, who was on the Gladstone City Commission for 10 years, and Chamber of Commerce Associate Director Sheila Krueger. The mock meeting focused on the budgeting process for a make-believe city aptly named Delta Force. Students played the role of city commissioners, mayor and concerned citizens, stepping to the podium to voice concerns over a 5 percent utility rate hike. Citizens came forward to speak to “commissioners” to try to convince them to save the library’s budget from being cut. Students even heard from a potential “business developer” who was looking for tax abatement for her new vehicle microchip manufacturing plant. Students learned valuable lessons in the budgeting process, realizing that sometimes, budget cuts impact someone’s livelihood, but are necessary to keep budgets balanced.

Local city mayors teach about good citizenship

After enjoying lunch provided by Walmart of Escanaba, students listened to presentations by Gladstone Mayor Brad Mantela and Escanaba Mayor Mark Ammel. Both city mayors offered students an overview of city government and stressed that good citizenship starts with interest and getting involved in the process. Ammel stressed that the most important thing that we can all do as citizens is to attend meetings of our local governmental body and vote on every single issue that comes up on the ballot.

Students learned a great deal about the budgeting process and found governmental meetings eye-opening.

“It was very interesting, particularly learning how much time and energy goes into planning and balancing the budget, and working at the meetings,” Delta Force student Mandy Lindstrom said. “I learned that the best way to be informed is by getting involved and going to the meetings yourself.”

Created and facilitated by the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, Delta Force encompasses a series of ten full-day sessions covering such areas as media and communications, education, leadership, health and community services, law and order, government, and other key segments of our community. Next month, the Delta Force students will learn about measures in place to protect Delta County’s natural resources on Environment Day. Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.deltami.org/delta-force-leadership-program” www.deltami.org/delta-force-leadership-program for more information about Delta Force.

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Victoria LaFave is with the Delta County Chamber of Commerce

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