From left, student Andrew Carter, professor Sean Skipworth, student Marion McDaniel, state Sen. Larry Taylor and student Victor Revilla

Many students’ idea of state government is a textbook blurb peppered with Latin phrases.
For College of the Mainland students attending Community College Day, state government came to life through touring the Capitol and talking with their state representatives.
“I didn’t know my representatives. This was my opportunity to meet them and find out what’s going on now,” said Marion McDaniel, a 23-year-old student studying theater at COM. This was her first time to visit the seat of Texas government, which interests her as an active member of COM’s student government.
She and her classmates, along with COM President Dr. Beth Lewis and government professor Sean Skipworth, converged with hundreds of other community college students and staff at the event, sponsored by the Texas Association of Community Colleges. Representatives such as state Sen. Kel Seliger, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, addressed the gathering from the Capitol steps.
“You represent one of the best things of Texas, the Texas community college system. One of the best investments we make is community college. You are the cornerstone of the workforce and future of the economy of the state of Texas,” said Seliger.

Later, students met face-to-face with state Rep. Craig Eiland and state Sen. Larry Taylor.
The conversations were a highlight of the trip for Andrew Carter, 29, of Bacliff. A process technology student, Carter enjoyed “just being able to talk with them and speak what was on my mind.”
Students asked about past reductions of state government funding of education and mandated requirements for associate degrees. Taylor shared about how state government works and his view of education.  
Student Victor Revilla, 19, of La Marque, agreed, “Not a lot of constituents have a lot of one-on-one conversations [with their representatives].”
Revilla, who will graduate from COM in May with an associate degree in general studies, helped campaign for Eiland last fall. He enjoyed visiting the place where his representatives work and learning more about state government firsthand.
“I learned I really want to run for office, maybe something along the lines of state senator. I want to work for cultural change with our legislative process,” said Revilla.
He plans to begin by starting a Young Democrats club on campus to show others that young voices can be loud.
“I think I’m the first person in my family to get involved,” he said. “My thing is getting young people to speak up. They can evolve politics.”