Shadrach Michaels photo
Mayor Nathan Robertson and students at the Learning Bridge Charter School.

Contributing to the education of our local youth, Mayor Nathan Robertson accepted an invitation from Ely Learning Bridge’s second grade teacher, Maryann Sanders, to participate with her students in an interactive discussion about elected officials in government.  

Breaking down the branches of government, Mrs. Sanders’ second graders are learning the national, state, and local positions and what each respectively does for citizens, “Second grade is learning about rules, laws, and our government.  A very important part of that is knowing who our local leaders are and their responsibilities,” Sanders explained.  Bringing the local head of the executive branch into the classroom provided a personal dynamic to their lessons. 

Students learn quite a lot in Mrs. Sanders’ room, and this lesson was no exception. Helping to explain the role the mayor plays in the local political sphere, Robertson discussed his many responsibilities: managing the administrative organization of the city, as well as overseeing the various city departments such as the Fire Department and Police, roads and transportation, just to name a few. 

Students were able to question their mayor and they interrogated him hard, inquiring about many of the most important issues, “They asked if I like candy. And if I ate candy. I told them, yes, I eat candy.”   Robertson was also asked by the students to explain his family ties to the city, “The kids seemed particularly impressed that I am the eye doctor’s son, they all know him, he checks their eyes, too. They think that’s really cool.”  

Robertson is unsure if gifts he was given by these future voters constituted a bribe.  He wants to go on record declaring that while he did accept a total of three pennies and quartz as gifts from various students, they no way influence his promises made to the class, “They asked me to speak to the council on improving the city’s recycling program and I said I would.”  By the end of their time together Robertson may have been few cents richer than he was when he walked in the door, but the students were wiser and more informed about branches of government and each of their roles in law making.

Mrs. Sanders commented afterward, “I think we may have a couple interested future candidates for mayor.”  Reflecting national politics, it does seem that campaigning starts earlier and earlier every year.  Mayor Robertson is simply happy to have helped young people learn about politics and local governance.  Sanders commended the mayor following the class visitation, “This was an amazing lesson and we want to extend a great big thank you to Mayor Robertson for taking time to share with Learning Bridge second grade.”  Education may not be under his administrative umbrella, but Robertson is all for helping wherever he can.