After the session, we took a lengthy lunch break and then came back to another lecture, this time by John Marion (LRI ’11), Executive Director of Common Cause RI. It was titled “The Function of Government” which as the title suggests, was a lecture about the many roles and functions of both the state and federal government.

Then at 1:45 the groups were broken up into various segments and sent into different rooms. Caucus time had begun. Each group had to convene with their members and come up with the best arguments why this bill should or should not pass. I was in the minority group opposing the bill. I can still remember the severe back and forth within the members of the minority group about the bill. By 2:20 pm all arguments were wrapped up and we were back in the senate lounge ready to go at it.

15304219_10154298379359601_7668684801776120310_oBefore that, we had a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the bill in the Senate Lounge. Testifying for the bill was Steven Brown, Executive Director of ACLU of RI (right) Testifying against the bill was Captain Vincent McAteer III, (LRI ’15) of the Office of Community Outreach of the Cranston Police Department (left). They had 10 minutes to present their arguments to the class and took in questions.

15370134_10154298380854601_3618962641264458525_oBy 3:10 pm we headed over to the Senate Floor of the State House to play senators for the day and vote on this Bill. This session was led by Michael Egan, a federal district attorney and parliamentarian in the House. It was not what we imagined. It was an amicable session and in fact, members of all the groups found ourselves crisscrossing on those who supported the bill and those who did not. In the end we ended up passing the bill but with some amendments to it. That was not the fun part. The fun part was when we were asked to vote on some other hypothetical bills like: 15384494_10154298384054601_8885590739808737366_o 15385306_10154298385554601_5438553139611898183_o 15369071_10154298385444601_5983261003149416562_o 15289266_10154298385264601_20637392679201862_o

After, the session, we debriefed, took a beautiful class photo by the lighted tree and proceeded to the Governor’s State Room where we had our graduation ceremony. The room was packed with family and well-wishers and other distinguished guests. I mean, I could go on for hours about the event. We received our certificates and a citation from Governor Raimondo. We then 15304540_10154195617800658_8999730705149277655_oheaded to our final social at Public Kitchen & Bar downtown where we enjoyed each other’s company for what I think for some of us, the very last time.

I want to thank the whole class and Leadership Rhode Island for giving me this opportunity to learn so much during the past four sessions. I developed more than anyone would ever know.

Photo Credit: Richard Staples