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Teleconference with senator a first for AP class at HHS

By By Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle High School’s AP senior government class had the opportunity to question Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, during a teleconference last week thanks to the school’s new ACCESS distance learning lab.
The teleconference, a first for the school, brought together the senator from his Washington D.C. office and the students from their classroom for an informal questions and answer session. Coordinating the project was Dr. Nancy Horton, director of instruction for Hartselle City Schools. Observing were Dr. Mike Reed, superintendent, Dr. Anne Davidson, ACCESS regional support center coordinator, Keith Wright, classroom teacher, Tim Southerland, director of technology, Johnny Berry, student guidance counselor and David Robinson, media specialist.
After introductions were made, the senator took questions from four class members, as follows:
Laura Davis: What legislation is Congress considering to help our nation reduce its impact on the environment?
Senator Sessions: There is a lot of interest in the Congress at this time to do the right thing. We are working primarily in two areas: liquid fuel in automobiles and generation of electricity. There is a move under way to increase the minimum gas mileage for new automobiles to 37 miles per gallon. We’re also pursuing the best way to produce a larger amount of electric power without having a negative impact on the environment. My preference is nuclear power generation.
Dalton Nagel: Do you favor the troop surge or do you feel that withdrawals are becoming necessary? What steps do we as a free and peaceful nation, need to take to ensure our ultimate safety both here and abroad?
Senator Sessions: The troop surge is working. It’s safer and more stable in Iraq today than it was last year when we sent in more troops. However, there are a few pockets of terrorism left. It is a difficult and challenging time. But our soldiers have done a great job and they are telling us not to give away what we’ve been fighing for. It is so important for us to be successful there.
Micah Laughmiller: What legislation can we expect concerning illegal immigration problem in our country?
Senator Sessions: A majority of Americans want a lawful system of immigration. Last year we arrested 1,1 million people who were trying to enter illegally at our borders. That is a 20 percent reduction from the prior year. In three or four years at that rate we could have an 80 percent reduction in illegal entry.
Megan Griffin: How do you feel about the effectiveness of the “No Child Left Behind” program? Do you base your opinion on your own experience, or on the experience of teachers and students that are affected by the program everyday?
Senator Sessions: I taught sixth grade for one year and my wife taught school for a number of years. And I have visited about 30 schools and talked with their teachers.

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