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Votes

Super Tuesday Takes On Special Significance

For third and fourth graders.

Carter Costantino's grandfather is David A. Kaechele. He is also on the Board of Supervisors for Henrico County. Because the third and fourth graders in Linda Hoekstra's class are studying about the functions of local government, Carter's mother, Karen, and Hoekstra thought that it would be nice for them to hear about the process of getting elected straight from the source. They invited both Kaechele and Mount Vernon supervisor Gerald Hyland, to talk to the class on Super Tuesday, March 2.

Hoekstra, who teaches at Stratford Landing Elementary School, said, "When you're studying different branches of government, it's important for the students to see real people; how they get elected and what they do."

Before the students had a chance to ask questions, Hyland asked them a few.

"When is the election?"

One student quickly came up with the right answer for that one — 'Nov. 4.'

The next question was, "What do you have to do to vote?"

That one took a little longer to get the correct answer. Students answered everything from showing an ID to being a citizen before they came up with the correct answer— 'register.'

Hyland then asked them what percentage of people registers to vote. (about half). And how many registered voters actually do vote [in a presidential election], about 40 percent.

Kaechele spoke about how it was an honor and privilege to vote, and a responsibility.

And then it was the students' turn.

They asked who the supervisors thought would make a good vice-president for Senator John Kerry; why there are two parties; and if a woman could run for president.

Carter Costantino asked about the silliest complaints the supervisors had received from their constituents.

Kaechele said that a constituent called to complain about their neighbor's dog being loose; they wanted him to come and pick him up.

Hyland said that he had also received a dog call. This one was complaining about a neighbor's dog that made a mess in their yard. Hyland went and cleaned it up. Another time, somebody called about a black snake in their laundry room; Hyland went and removed it. In the same vein, when somebody called Kaechele's office complaining that they couldn't afford to buy bags for their leaves, he brought a box of bags over to them.

"When you're in public office, they expect you to help," said Hyland.