New Hampshire Kids Learn Firsthand That Politicians Are Jerks

It’s usually nice when a group of young kids get the opportunity to see their government at work, but that wasn’t the case in New Hampshire’s State House last week. After the children had prepared a bill to name an official state raptor, they watched in horror as the state legislators publically tore the kid’s proposal apart more harshly than an actual raptor might.

A fourth grade class at Lincoln Akerman School skipped School House Rock and took a learn-by-doing approach to discover how a bill becomes a law. They wrote an innocuous bill that would name the Red Tail Hawk as New Hampshire’s state raptor, and then traveled to the State House on the day the bill was to be discussed to watch the proceedings firsthand.

The lawkmakers gave a warm welcome to the kids seated in the gallery, but things took a sour turn when they actually started discussing House Bill 373. Like any good Republican, State Representative Warren Groen quickly used the opportunity to get in a dig on Planned Parenthood.

“[The hawk] is known for its extremely strong and sharp talons, with which it grasps its pretty. It uses its razor-sharp beak to rip its victim to shreds, tearing it apart limb by limb,” said Rep. Groen. “I guess the shame about making this a state bird is that it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.” Chaperones for the students said they were saddened by the statement, as well as confused since they were unfamiliar with abortion.

Rep. Christy Bartlett, a Democrat, dismissed the bill as trivial and a waste of time, while Republican Rep. John Burt mocked it further, saying, “Bottom line, if we keep bringing more of these bills, and bill, and bills forward… we’ll be picking a state hot dog next.” Ultimately, the representatives present rejected the kids’ bill by a slight majority.

On the one hand, I understand where these lawmakers (well, the previous two that were mentioned, anyway) are coming from. They are elected officials that have more important issues to attend to, and it’s not their responsibility to placate children. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with displaying a little tact. Belittling the bill in front of the kids isn’t the best way to handle the situation.

Besides, the bill only made it as far as it did with help from a smaller subcommittee that could have easily weeded it out. Instead, the Environment and Agriculture committee gave the bill a thumbs-up and passed it along to the entire legislative body. Perhaps state lawmakers should direct their criticism toward the committee rather than the children.

It’s not as if New Hampshire doesn’t have plenty of other official symbols, either. They have a designated state bird and tree like most states, but the fun doesn’t stop there. What would New Hampshire be without its official state animal, the white tail deer. Let’s not forget the state dog, state insect, state butterfly, state amphibian, state mineral and state gem, which are the Chinook, the ladybug, the Karner Blue, the spotted newt, the beryl and the smoky quartz, respectively.

New Hampshire is so gung-ho about fish that it doesn’t have just one state fish, it makes room for a state freshwater fish and a state saltwater game fish, so both the brook trout and the striped bass can get their dues. But a state raptor? That’s just going too far, kids! (Incidentally, Idaho designated the peregrine falcon its state raptor a decade ago, so there is precedent.)

At the end of the day, the kids got the most important lesson in government anyone could ever receive: politicians are jerks. Next time, they should first start a Super PAC and donate to candidate’s campaigns – then they’ll see how quickly a state raptor can be named!

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

In a government that has so little public interest, I would have thought that they would show interest (even pretend; would that hurt?) to keep the kids interested in government and politics rather than give them an insult and kick them out the door. Politicians are so stupid. I guess they did not see the kids lining their pockets so there was no need to be kind.

PS...Jerk is too kind of a descriptive for them.

Leia P.
Leia P.3 years ago


N. Jane Walker
N. Jane Walker3 years ago

Crass and unnecessary.

N. Jane Walker
N. Jane Walker3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this story

Rachel Nichols
Rachel Nichols3 years ago


Karen Ryan
Karen Ryan3 years ago

Those kids are getting a real world education. So sad.

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

hopefully these kids will use this incident to better the governement.