Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-District 21) presented a talk along with a book donation to Binks Forest Elementary School on Monday, April 22.
An excited group of fifth-grade students gathered in the media center where books donated by the Library of Congress were lined up on a table in front of the children.
“Rep. Frankel is here today to deliver surplus books from the Library of Congress,” Congressional Outreach Coordinator Charity Lewis explained. “All members of Congress are eligible to enroll, and they can receive books to be donated to organizations that are going to use the books for their own libraries.”
Frankel introduced herself and spent time chatting with the students.
“I am Lois Frankel, and I am a member of Congress. Does anyone know what that is?” Frankel asked.
The children were able to answer her questions with accuracy. “You work for the legislative branch and pass laws,” one student said.
Frankel smiled and said, “That’s right, wow!”
Wellington Councilman John McGovern, who joined Frankel for the event, noted a unique point in her background.
“What is very interesting about Congresswoman Frankel is that she has served in local government, state government and then the government in Washington,” McGovern said. “She has been involved in all three.”
Frankel fielded the students’ questions. One asked, “Have you met Donald Trump?”
Another asked, “How about Barack Obama?”
“What about Hillary Clinton?” one child blurted out.
Frankel answered that she had met each of them.
“What about Abraham Lincoln?” another student whispered.
“Wait a minute… maybe in a dream,” Frankel said regarding Lincoln.
Frankel, who earned her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1973, moved to West Palm Beach in 1974, and in 1986 was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, starting her political career.
When asked what advice she would give other women running for office, Frankel urged the youngsters to get involved.
“There is no one way to do it. Be involved in your community. Lead a life of integrity. Stay out of trouble. Don’t be afraid,” Frankel said. “You know, men get out of bed every day and look in the mirror and say, ‘I can be president.’ Women worry about every little thing and why they shouldn’t do something.”
Frankel, who served as mayor of West Palm Beach from 2003 to 2011, explained to the fifth graders some of the challenges in that role.
“Every day there was a crisis, literally. I think the hard part is trying to stay focused on your mission because there is a distraction every single day when you are mayor,” Frankel said. “Top line problems would be gang shootings, keeping the water clean and dealing with a small group of people who are against everything.”
Frankel told the students she believes that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing Americans, and she didn’t shy away from being partisan.
“In terms of our future, I would say climate change is a concern. State legislators have to be more sensitive to the issues in Florida,” Frankel said. “The Republicans have ignored climate change and continue to ignore it. And they control our state legislature. Hopefully, they will get a little more informed.”
As a Democrat, it is understandable that Frankel is supportive of her party’s candidates. Among the Democrats running for president in 2020, Frankel has yet to declare a favorite. However, she told the Town-Crier after the event that she does hope to see one of them win.