Their goal: Try to find ways to reduce the projected 10-year federal deficit.
The event was co-hosted by 13th District U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry and a nonpartisan group called the Concord Coalition.
Students -- or temporary "congressmen" -- had to decide the fairest and most effective ways to reduce the deficit and work toward a balanced federal budget.
Call it trial by fire. Their first day "on the job," and these MSU "congressmen" were charged with tackling the deficit ... alongside veteran Representative Mac Thornberry.
The exercise is designed to be realistic. Majority rules ... tight time constraints ... no amendments ... it's time to vote.
Rep. Mac Thornberry
U.S. District 13
"Nobody gets their way exactly. So you have to weigh the pros & the cons & come down with a yes or a no vote -- understanding that it's not perfect."
MSU Psychology Senior
"There are a lot of items that I did not think I would be passionate about, but I have found that I really do feel strongly about. I think that it affects us on a great daily level, & i didn't know that I cared."
Concord Coalition Southern Regional Director
"We live in a democratic republic, & it requires citizen involvement. And these issues disproportionally affect these young people. So, we hope they'll get involved & do something about it."
The freshman congressmen had to weigh the political costs of their decisions.
"We need to cut spending, but we also need to raise revenue."
Some decided they *never* want to pursue a career in politics:
"There's not enough money in the world for me to do this job. No!" (laugh)
... others are inspired to consider it --
MSU Criminal Justice Senior
"Just because of all the debate that goes on, & how you get to express your views on certain subjects ... I think it's kind of exciting."
... and many have a newfound appreciation for the tasks facing our lawmakers:
"I have to take my hat off to Congressman Thornberry, because I realize that just with the few people at our table, it can be a difficult process."
"I can't help but think - if I could just kidnap y'all, & we would make decisions together for real ... We might not agree with everything -- but I think y'all could do a whole lot more than that bunch up there." (laughter)
This is the second time Congressman Thornberry has held a forum such as this ...
He and the concord coalition conducted a similar exercise yesterday in Amarillo.
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