Congressman Ami Bera Speaks at Vista

On March 19, 2014, United States Congressman Ami Bera spoke to Vista del Lago High School students about government and politics, as part of the school’s advisory speaker series.

Bera was first introduced by his intern, Reed Waxham. The high school junior was instrumental in bringing Bera to the campus through his role as the school’s Director of Communications.

Waxham said, “I think it is really important that congressional representatives reach out to their community, and get to hear from students about issues that are important to them.”

To start, Bera gave a brief autobiography stating that his mother was a teacher, and that he only attended public schools.

He then spoke about issues facing today’s young folk, including high college costs and the unstable job market. Bera also discussed the hardships he faced when running for Congress both unsuccessfully in 2010 and victoriously in 2012.

Students were then given the opportunity to ask questions, which included inquires on his beliefs about the Affordable Care Act, the California drought, minor drug convictions, polarization across the aisle, and Ukraine.

In his speech, Bera also mentioned his involvement with the House Foreign Affairs committee, and important topics such as of STEM education and internships.

Concluding his speech, Bera asked students if they were optimistic about their future. It was a split audience.

“If you walk away with only one thing from … the 45 minutes we’ve had together, walk away with the belief that you can do anything that you want to,” Bera said.

This was arguably the most crucial message of his speech. It sought to inspire students, and give them optimism about their futures.

Senior Elizabeth McClain says this is what she took away from his speech, “Nothing is holding you back. You can do anything basically.”