McClintock holds Q&A with Granite Oaks eighth-graders

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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The students of Granite Oaks Middle School had some tough questions for Congressman Tom McClintock Friday. But he didn’t seem to mind. McClintock made a visit to the school to talk with eighth-graders about the Constitution and the federal government – something students have been learning in the classroom this year. “What you’re studying right now is so very, very important because it’s your future,” he told a gymnasium full of eighth-graders. He also encouraged their thoughts and ideas through a question and answer segment. “You’ve got an opinion – express that opinion,” McClintock said. “You’ve got a right to express your opinion.” And express their thoughts was exactly what the Granite Oaks students did. One eighth-grader asked for McClintock’s thoughts on the banks – whether he agrees on the bailouts or not. McClintock responded that the losses occurred because banks gave loans to people who couldn’t afford it. He said he suggests “not transferring losses to the rest of the country,” but instead, for people and banks to take responsibility for their decisions. Other students seemed very interested in McClintock’s views of President Barak Obama. “I think he’s a very sincere guy,” the Republican congressman said. Another student, Johnny Zieour, asked about McClintock’s thoughts on the stimulus bill. “You can’t give one person a dollar without taking a dollar away from someone else,” McClintock responded. Student Nikki Mattar grabbed McClintock’s attention after the assembly to ask about a more local issue – foreclosures and vacant buildings, she said. She said his answer included the idea that “people made a couple of bad choices,” which was an answer she thought was a good one. Other questions included feelings about the war in Iraq (“I think it was a big mistake,” McClintock said), what should be done about the struggling economy (the congressman was in favor of reducing the tax burden) and the most important part of his job (staying in touch with the district and the people, McClintock said). One of the things McClintock continually expressed was the need for youth to express their opinions – just as he was able to do as a young adult. McClintock said he began expressing his views through writing letters to the editor to the local Thousand Oaks newspaper about the Vietnam War. It also landed him his first job as a columnist for the paper, he said. “I just got involved,” McClintock said. He said he finds visiting local schools inspirational. “It makes me feel great to know that the future of this country is in good hands,” he said. “It’s an inspiration for me to come out to share these ideas.” Contact Lauren Weber at