Local assemblyman discusses state government with fifth-graders from Stonegate

One by one, state Assemblyman Don Wagner fielded questions from his audience of Stonegate Elementary School fifth-graders.

“How do you become an assemblyman?”

“Have you ever met the governor?”

“Where does all of California’s money go?”

Then came this more practical question: “Do you get really hot in that suit?”

Wagner laughed.

“I get even hotter with some of the questions you guys ask,” he quipped.

Wagner, a first-term assemblyman who represents California’s 70th District, spoke to roughly 70 fifth-graders on Friday, discussing the branches of state government, the role of the Assembly and the process that turns bills in laws. In anticipation of his appearance, the Stonegate students conducted research in class and prepared questions, Principal Stan Machesky said.

Perhaps alluding to the fiscal crisis, one girl in the audience asked if it was hard to be a part of the state government. Wagner conceded that the budget poses serious challenges for lawmakers.

“There just isn’t as much money as there was before,” he said, “and it requires some very tough decisions.”

“It’s tough,” Wagner added, “but it’s fun. It’s worth it.”