In the News

PACT Trip Turns into Civic Lesson for One Family

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March 17, 2010

The AARC’s Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT) just completed another successful trip to our nation’s capitol to educate members of Congress on key respiratory issues.

But for Keith Siegel, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, PACT member from Maine, it was a chance to show his 16-year-old daughter our nation’s government in action too.

Sen. Susan Collins, left, poses with the Siegel family—Keith, wife Vicki, son Jacob, and daughter Rachel—during this year’s PACT trip to Washington, DC.

“I brought my daughter, Rachel, with me to my meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Susan Collins,” explains Siegel. “The reason I did it was because a couple years ago, when she was in the eighth grade, she heard that the school superintendant was recommending to the school board that they eliminate all of the arts programs from grades K–8.”

PhotoRachel decided to see if she could do something to turn that decision around, so she went to her school principal, asking if she could visit each classroom and circulate a petition asking the school board to save the arts programs.

“When she came home that afternoon, she had over 175 signatures from students, parents, and teachers,” says her proud dad. “She showed me the petition, and I called a member of the school board.” That board member took Rachel’s petition to the school board meeting, and the board voted to reject the superintendant’s proposal. “The arts programs were saved.”

Siegel told Rachel that what she did was really similar to what he does every year as a part of the AARC PACT, and this year decided it would be a great civics lesson for her to accompany him on the trip. “I told Senator Collins about why Rachel was sitting in on the meeting, and she told Rachel that she was extremely proud of her, and reinforced to her the concept that our government really is ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’”