At the request of TJSL student Lance Henry (3L), Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, Councilmembers Myrtle Cole, and Scott Sherman came together at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law on Wednesday, November 13 to give TJSL students, Crawford High School students, faculty and staff the opportunity to learn about life in the political sector and ask questions of elected officials.
Dean Thomas Guernsey welcomed the panelists and acknowledged Lance Henry and the TJSL students who made this event possible. “The wonderful thing about this law school is the students who have taken the initiative on so many important kinds of events and this is just another example of how dedicated and hard working our students are.”
“I hosted the event to help those who are interested in this field to get firsthand knowledge of how to effectively pursue a career in the political sector,” said Henry. “The event was great! The elected officials gave practical advice on how to enter the political field. The advice they gave seemed to resonate with both the Crawford high school students and TJSL law school students in attendance.”
One piece of advice that seemed to resonate with the entire audience was given by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. “One of the great things about politics is if you’re willing to show up and prove that you can do good work, you will be put to work.”
Mayor Gloria also explained that even though the job market seems bleak at the moment, there is a silver lining. “Because of the upcoming high retirement rate also known as the ‘Silver Tsunami’ we will have a lot of vacancies and we will need talented, young, hardworking people who want to serve their community.”
Wednesday night’s event was moderated by Law Review Editor in Chief Danielle Gilbert (3L). “I liked how passionate the panelist were,” said Gilbert. “The panelists each have unique approaches to bettering the city, and they support each other's efforts. It was refreshing to see these public servants' true altruism and passion.”
The Political Panel was sponsored by TJSL’s Admissions Office and Co-Sponsored by The Crawford Law Institute & Mentorship Bond (CLIMB). CLIMB is a program created to mentor high school students within the Business and Law Academy at Crawford High School. “The law students who participate in CLIMB are so active in their efforts to create a positive impact on the lives of young Crawford High School students,” said Henry. “I wanted to give them an outlet to add to the positive work they do with the Crawford students.” "Although CLIMB students learn about the political workings of government, it's quite another to have the opportunity to interact, question and meet those responsible for the inner workings of government," said CLIMB Co-Founder Professor Maurice Dyson. "A healthy democracy depends upon a civic-minded, engaged and informed citizenry for the next generation and we hope today's event with CLIMB is a substantial step to accomplishing that."
Council Woman Myrtle Cole of the Fourth Council District explained why, after being a police officer for 8 ½ years she got involved in San Diego politics. “I wanted to make a better quality of life for the people in the Fourth Council District because I felt that they were being neglected.”
Council Woman Cole used Lance Henry as someone that Crawford students could look up to. “When we see you involved those are the ones we go to. For example Lance Henry because he does such a good job interning with my office in the Fourth Council District he is somebody we would hire and put in charge of important projects because we know that he has been involved.”
“The thing that stood out to me the most was the number of students that requested I contact them about how to become involved,” said Henry. “One law student explained how she was active in political campaigns in her home state and how she would like to do so here in San Diego. Many high school students inquired about how they could volunteer. In my opinion the event was a complete success.”
Scott Sherman, Councilmember of the Seventh Council District described his path to politics. “I ran on a platform of bringing a business mind to City Hall,” said Sherman. “I wanted to bring a ‘how may I help you’ attitude back into government. It’s not about you it’s not about what office you’re running for next. It’s about doing what’s right to help the community.”
As the panel discussion wrapped up final words of wisdom were given.
“Ask yourself what would you do for free and still show up?” said Councilmember Scott Sherman.
“Life is a Relationship Business,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria.
“Watch people you respect,” was the final piece of advice given by event organizer Lance Henry.