GOVERNMENT DISCUSSION — Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) leads a discussion in Darren Fickel’s sixth grade social studies class about the 4th Congressional District and his responsibilities in representing more than 700,000 people in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

SUNNYSIDE — Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) visited Harrison Middle School and discussed political issues with sixth grade students in Darren Fickel’s Social Studies classroom while learning about their 4th Congressional District on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

“Anytime you’re working with students, you never know the questions that are going to come into their mind and what they want to talk about. Sometimes it’s pretty basic. Sometimes they get into some real issues,” Fickel described.

Learning directly about the process of government from one of their own representatives, provides students with a valuable lesson which is not accessible in the room’s Chromebooks. The interactive program also educates politicians that students care and are very knowledgeable about the issues.

Newhouse greeted the students and introduced himself while acknowledging that he was once a Harrison Middle School “Cub.” The Washington, D.C. delegate and Sunnyside resident spoke about his family’s roots in the lower valley and his political aspirations for serving in the footsteps of his father Irving.

“Not everybody can go to Washington, D.C. their nation’s capital and give their opinion on different issues of the day. So, we elect people to do that for us. And, I am your voice,” Newhouse informed as he began to explain what his elected duties are.

The congressman told the class there about seven million people in Washington state and there’s 10 members of the House of Representatives, each one is responsible for and represents just over 700,000 people.

“I have to do all I can to listen to what they’re telling me about different things that are important. About how they want things to be. What different laws they want passed or don’t want,” he conveyed. “I represent all the people in our nation’s capital, even you.”

Fickel, along with Newhouse encouraged students to ask questions throughout his early morning dialogue. Joel Gonzalez inquired about President Trump’s impeachment trial.

The representative explained about the history of presidential impeachment and how today was a monumental time for our country as the senate impeachment trial began.

Yohairie Sandoval-Meraz wanted to know why the White House doesn’t like immigrants. Newhouse responded that wasn’t the case. He asked the class how many students speak Spanish? Almost the entire class raised their hand. And so, did Newhouse. With his hand in the air, he responded, “Yo tambien” (me too).

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email

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