Mayor Hidy talks government with Madison fourth graders
So how do you teach young students about our nation’s government and the election process? You bring in an expert.
Madison Elementary’s fourth grade teachers took advantage of the excitement of the current presidential race to hold a local civics lesson. They invited Massena Mayor Jim Hidy for a lengthy question and answer session with their students on Friday, Oct. 26.
Fourth graders Gavin Benson and Olivia Goodrow greeted the mayor and School Superintendent Roger Clough at the school’s front door and escorted them to a room filled with more than 50 eager students.
Mr. Hidy began by thanking everyone for the invitation to speak to the school, saying this was one of his favorite things about being mayor.
“I love coming to talk to kids,” he said. In addition to coming to Madison, he noted that he had visited the high school and read to students at Jefferson.
He then began answering a steady stream of questions from the students. In fact, time ran out before he had a chance to address all the questions.
When asked what they thought about having the mayor visit, the students all smiled.
“I thought it was really cool,” said Jazmyn Premo, a student in Mrs. Albert’s class.
“I thought it was awesome just having the mayor visit and learning about the steps before becoming a mayor and the number of years you have to live here,” said Haili Cartin from Mrs. Porcaro’s class.
So what kinds of things did the children ask? Following are some of the questions and a summary of the candid answers Mr. Hidy gave:
- How hard do you have to work to become mayor? You go visit the people to learn what they want. That means going door-to-door and to social and civic clubs to meet the people.
- Why did you want to be mayor? He came back to Massena, saw some things he didn’t like and decided to be a part of changing things. He told the students the best thing they could do is to give back to their community.
- Is it always busy? Yes, the state wants us to do all kinds of things.
- What is the most decision you make? How to spend people’s money. The village is a $16 million dollar business, but it’s really the people’s money. Individual people also call with their own personal concerns.
- Can a mayor change a lot of things about our community? A mayor can’t do it alone, it takes many people involved in the decision making process. The proposed curfew is an example. He had an idea to bring back a curfew; he presented the idea to the village board who drafted and approved a local law. That new law is now at the state level for its review before it can become officially adopted.
- Is it fun or easy? I love it.
- Do you need a lot of money to run? Not the like presidential campaign. He just purchased some lawn signs. The biggest thing is to go out and introduce yourself to the people.
- Has a girl ever been mayor? Not that he knew of, but more women should be in politics.
- Do you have to be a U.S. citizen like the President? No you just have to be a Massena resident for two years.
- Do you have to go to college to be the mayor? No, but like all jobs, you need of the education you can get to do it well.
- What are the steps to becoming mayor? First you have to go to a political party and tell them you want to run. Then, you have to go out to the people to get their support.
- How many people are in Massena? There are about 10,000 people in the village.
- Did you like to read when you were a kid? He didn’t read as much as he could have.