Erika Barger
Sat Oct 8, 2005 21:48


Grand Prize Winner
Erika Barger
Ormond Beach, FL

Cable Company: Bright House Networks

A Memorable C-SPAN Moment

Since a chance meeting with President Bush in 2002, I became interested in politics and the workings of our government. Every morning I awaken to the sounds of C-SPAN's Washington Journal before going to school. My favorite segment on C-SPAN is the viewer call-in sessions. I feel that it is crucial for viewers to express their opinions, whether they agree or disagree with the guests.

My most memorable call-in session was on a Friday, when students in my district had a free day from school. I recall rousing that morning to hear the voice of Sam Wineburg, a professor from Stanford University, discussing the importance of history among today's young people. My listening became even more intent as I was curious to know what Mr. Wineburg had to say. He stated that students rarely read history books for pleasure and most cannot properly date the Civil War.

As a history buff, I knew I had to call in and let all know that this does not apply to all students. I raced for the telephone and called in to express my opinion on this important issue. Several minutes passed and I was on the air. Sam Wineburg seemed quite surprised that a high school sophomore would be calling C-SPAN on a Friday morning to respond to his comments. Since that time, it has given me greater confidence to listen to others' opinions. What they have to say is important to them. They desire to be heard, and deserve that chance.

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Erika Barger - SPOKE OF THIS BOOK ON C-SPAN: Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate: Books by Barbara Mikulski,Kay Bailey Hutchison,Dianne Feinstein,Barbara Boxer,Murray Patty,Olympia ...

Editorial Reviews
It's hard to imagine nine United States senators whose politics span the spectrum sitting down to dinner together on a regular basis--unless they're the nine women who currently call the Senate home. Barbara Mikulski, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche L. Lincoln share something deeper than their political proclivities: gender has been the strongest characteristic of their personal and professional lives, and each one has overcome enormous obstacles to reach the old boys' club that is the Senate. As evidence of their remarkable camaraderie, they've now collaborated to share their stories in the hopes of encouraging other women to follow suit. The women write with candor about dealing with sexual stereotypes, facing tragedies, and proving themselves in a world that presents them with an ever-shifting teeterboard of proper feminine behavior.

Their stories range from surprising to shocking to illuminating. Included are Dianne Feinstein's account of the assassination of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and her unexpected rise to power, and the string of deaths that shaped Olympia Snowe into the independent person she is. The senators also share how they have balanced family with work, and in the process brought issues to the Senate floor not previously considered, such as child care, domestic violence, and homemaker retirement accounts (as well as the refreshing sight of small children). What is most impressive is their collaborative spirit, drawn from the traditional female training ground of local grass-roots endeavors and an emphasis on relationship and negotiation. When 64-year-old Barbara Boxer was born, becoming a senator was practically an unthinkable idea. Now, as the senior female senator, she welcomes each new woman who joins the ranks, whether Democrat or Republican, and teaches her the ropes. As partisan squabbles in Congress stymie any real progress, this book makes a strong case for the need for more women in positions of power and demonstrates that getting there is no longer a fantasy. --Lesley Reed

Book Description

What a difference a woman makes. The nine women of the United States Senate have changed the political landscape, and there's no turning back. Now, for the first time, in Nine and Counting, readers will be treated to an inside view of their private and public lives. As the senators share their stories and reflections with refreshing candor, insight, and humor, they demonstrate how ordinary women can overcome barriers and achieve extraordinary goals. These nine women are more different than they are alike. Their backgrounds, personal styles, and political ideals are as diverse as the United States itself. Yet they share a commonality that runs deeper than politics or geography: the desire to give voice to all of their constituents while serving as role models for women young and old. Each seantor brings her unique perspective to the mix.

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C-SPAN 25 YEARS.....

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