Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, called eight San Lorenzo Valley High School students “Star citizens,” for researching and presenting foreign affairs issues.
The students were part of Eshoo’s annual student advisory council she created in the 18th congressional district shortly after she was first elected in 1992 as a way to include young people in the political process. Each student researched a topic and presented to Eshoo on Wednesday, May 29 at Highland’s Park Senior Center in Ben Lomond.
n Michaella McFarland researched the prevalence of sexual harassment in the military and how it is underreported because of fear of retribution. She recommended that Eshoo support efforts to have sexual assault cases tried by civilian courts, rather than by way of the chain of command in the military.
Eshoo seemed to agree, saying, “All adjudication should be out of the military and put in civilian hands.”
n Haley Nolan disagreed with The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, claiming that it attacks personal freedoms by allowing many government agencies to access online data without notifying the user, based on a broad definition of a “cyber threat.”
Nolan suggested overturning CISPA and forming a comprehensive online security bill with concrete limitations.
n Catrina Tellez discussed immigration rights and suggested Eshoo support current legislation that helps undocumented workers earn citizenship, for the government to stop using the term “illegal” and use “undocumented” instead, and promote English literacy, history and civics education programs for immigrants.
n Adela Weigel looked into international family planning and was critical of laws that make it difficult for the U.S. government to spend money on contraceptives. She recommended Eshoo support the recent Global Partnership Act of 2013 which helps with global poverty and growth.
n Kendra Forst explored AIDS and malaria in developing countries. She found that medication to treat these diseases is relatively cheap and urged Eshoo to support efforts to support legislation that reduces poverty and combats disease.
n Jonathan Bukowski researched the Green Movement and nuclear weapons in Iran. He explained the political climate in Iran and explained to Eshoo how the U.S. should support religious freedom in Iran, support smarter sanctions on the country, crack down on human rights violations and create diplomatic solutions to quell Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
n Johann Prambs discussed the impact of foreign oil on the U.S. and asked Eshoo to support the production of domestic oil, to end oil subsidies and to increase taxes on oil, all to reduce the consumption domestically. He also opposes the Keystone XL pipeline that would ship tar sands oil to Texas from Canada to be refined and then sent abroad.
n Ajna Weaver spoke about sustainable development and called for Eshoo to sign onto H.R. 1195 the International Conservation Corps Act of 2013 to establish grants for nonprofits to help manage natural resources and sustainable development in developing countries.
SLV High government teacher Cindy Martinez was the group’s advisor along with Eshoo’s staff member Christine Padilla. Eshoo also honored principal Karen Van Putten for her leadership at the high school.
Eshoo was impressed by the research and presentations.
“What I really admire is the passion you have delivered with,” Eshoo said.