• No age limit to petition the government – First Amendment

    Date: 03.25.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Over the years, states have adopted everything from rocks to insects as symbols of their unique qualities. New Hampshire is no exception. The state flower is the purple lilac and the state bird is the purple finch.

    Fifth-grade student Kristyn Demers knew that and explained, ”I thought if I combined the purple finch and purple lilac, I could make purple the New Hampshire color. ” I told my teacher and she said to write a note to the governor and give it to him when we see him, so I did.”

    On a field trip to the statehouse in 2010, Kristyn handed the governor a note requesting the state adopt purple as New Hampshire’s official state color. The governor told Kristyn to ask her state representative to file a bill and she did just that. With the help of her mother, she contacted state Representative Shaun Doherty who filed a bill that will be considered this session.

    Kristyn testified before a legislative committee in January, 2011, to explain her request. She stated that it would help kids remember their other state symbols. There were two opponents who also spoke saying there has to be an end to state “this and that.” When Kristyn was asked after the hearing if she was surprised that two state representatives spoke against the bill, she responded, “Everybody has a right to their opinion, and this is mine.”  Watch Kristyn’s testimony here:

    This is not the first time a school child has suggested a state symbol. In 2010, New Hampshire students successfully lobbied for apple cider to be the official state drink, winning out over milk. New Hampshire also boasts having a state insect (ladybug), state animal (white-tailed deer), state sport (skiing) and other symbols.

    In politics, states have long been associated with color. For 100 years, Democrats were tied to red and Republicans to blue. Then the 2000 presidential election switched the map. Now we live with red states and blue states. Purple, being a blend of the two colors, represents a battleground state in recent elections.

    What do you think of Kristyn’s campaign? Is involvement in the democratic process as a child a valuable lesson or waste of time? Are you in touch with your politicians on issues that concern you? Have you considered joining your high school’s Young Democrats or Young Republicans, or starting a political club if none exist?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Thu, 07 Jul 2011 at 07:22

      More power to Kristyn and more power to the students in New Hampshire. Intelligent, mature young people have the potential to bring new perspective to lawmakers on social issues.

    • Beth W.
      Tue, 02 Aug 2011 at 02:32

      I’m glad to see Kristyn is using her talents to have a positive impact.

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