By C.L. Harmon/Publisher
“You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of legislation.” Yes, legislation to add a different spin to the original meaning Rod Serling envisioned. For this article, we shall call it ‘The Legislation Zone’ and introduce Macy Gleason, portraying the character of a young hopeful politician seeking to bring about change in a broken and antiquated system of state government.
Strange as it may seem to many for a 21-year-old college student to volunteer for the scene with current legislators, this former MHS graduate has filed for House District 29 seat as a Democrat wishing to bring new “energy” to issues facing the citizens of the state. It is true that in today’s society many consider 21 to be a tender and naive age, but Mozart was composing by age five, Louis Braille invented the Braille system at 15, 19 was the average age of front-line US service personnel fighting to defend democracy during the Vietnam War and Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy at 26 years old. So it’s fair to say that passion trumps age…and Gleason appears to have no shortage of passion.
“I have watched education legislation over the past several years and I realized that our students need a champion at the Capitol to be their voice. I am ready to be that voice,” Gleason said. She expressed her need to protect the citizens of her district. not just the students, but senior citizens too. Healthcare reform and a desire to stop rural hospitals from shutting down are also important issues she wishes to address as a Representative.“I have always been interested in politics since I was a young girl and I watched legislation that is important to me for a very long time,” she said.
Such legislation over the past several years has led to major budget cuts in education. It is this topic which sparks the passion in her that led to the action of political involvement. As a future educator finishing a degree at OSU, she has had the opportunity to learn about the struggles that affect teachers and administrators every day.
Also, she has seen it on a personal level as both of her parents are educators at Mannford schools. But it goes beyond the textbook shortages, overcrowded classrooms and personnel cuts that schools face. There are those countless children and parents who are affected by the solutions many schools have been forced to consider. Changes such as four-day weeks where children will miss out on meals that are not provided at home and possibly left without adult supervision while the parents are at work.
The list of problems in state government and the funding shortfalls are a long list and any politician can pick a few as a platform. According to Gleason, what sets her apart is passion, not platform issues. It’s certainly passion one could say that prompts a goldfish to swim with sharks. When asked if she had pause about going toe to toe with older and experienced legislators who played rough,she responded, “Being a legislator is not about age, it’s about how competent one can be. And I would not run for this position if I did not believe I was competent and informed enough to bring about change.” she said.
“I want voters to know that this job is about competency and that my age can actually be a benefit. I believe I have the energy that is needed at the Capitol to bring about change,” she added. She also speaks of her communication skills and love of people to be great assets that will help her achieve the goals she sets for herself as a legislator. She has spoken on Ted Talks about the importance of education and teachers.
In addition, Gleason has used her time and experiences as a student and daughter of educators to hopefully ignite the passion that she and all educators feel, into a lesson that all legislators should study and be required to pass as a test in any classroom within this state.
The beginning of this article refers to the Twilight Zone TV series. It’s where odd and strange phenomena bring about unusual and thought-provoking concepts that are just slightly out of the ordinary. Perhaps it is strange to think of a 21-year-old as a person who helps create state policy…like something in the Twilight Zone. But is older legislators consistently placing the state in deeper financial crisis any stranger to accept? Maybe someone like Gleason, who is looking at the status quo with a whole life ahead of them, is not strange at all; maybe it’s just a concerned citizen having a good lesson plan for the rest of us.