Alright, here's how that conference went down. Yours truly had the courage to get things started, asking the first question, after some small talk...
WÉ: Ben Tan.
Tierney: Hi Ben.
WÉ: Hi John. How was the birthday last week?
Tierney: It was alright. I'm not getting any younger.
WÉ: You look great.
Seriously, this is what we said!
WÉ: Of the current presidential candidates, who do you like?
Tierney: I like a lot of them...
He isn't endorsing anyone just yet, and feels that the other Democratic candidates (besides front-runners Clinton, Obama, and Edwards), Biden, Dodd, and Richardson, are "neglected." He then asked yours truly whom of the candidates I like.
WÉ: Well, it seems it'll be Clinton or Obama. I like them both...honestly, I'll take anyone besides our current president.
Tierney: I hear you.
WÉ: Thank you.
Joan Landers gave me a pat on the back for going first. Ms. Freedman wasn't pleased that I called him "John." John didn't seem to mind. Later, Mr. McKenna, the AP Government and Politics teacher, spoke with Congressman Tierney and agreed that Biden, Dodd, and Richardson do not get enough attention. Tierney told the assembly to "let the newspapers know" that these three are in the running. He said the front-runners spend too much money on their campaigns, and talked about the Clean Money, Clean Elections bill, which he authored. This bill would take special-interest money out of America's elections, resulting in an even playing field.
My Government and Politics classmates made their teacher proud, asking several questions...
Elisabeth Hurley: What's your stance on immigration?
Congressman Tierney said we have to tighten the borders, determine how many people to let in every year, and see if the jobs the illegals are taking could have gone to US citizens.
Christian Bando: I heard on the news that Social Security will run out. Can you explain the Social Security system?
Tierney: Social security will not run out.
He explained that some people do not believe the government should give money to retirees, the disabled, and survivors. After a few more questions about Social Security, Congressman Tierney then asked the students for their thoughts on Iraq, wondering if we feel the war affects us. We told him that many members of local families are currently serving there. I asked if he believes that we should set a deadline, or that we should "stay the course."
Tierney: The president didn't have a course to stay...we knew there were no weapons of mass destruction...we have stayed the course.
According to the congressman, "our military will have to devise a plan" that sets a deadline and gets the troops out safely. He called the Iraq War a horrible situation with little, if any, obvious answers. He said we are "wasting money" on the war, and should have given that money to Walter Reed, or to Katrina aid.
Tierney: I do not think it was appropriate to go in and invade the way we did...There was no bin Laden - Iraq connection."
A student asked Congressman Tierney if President Ahmadinejad should have been allowed to come to the US and speak. He replied that he supports letting him address the UN, but that if we cannot stand up to a "thug" like him, we need to rethink our ideas. My classmate Beth Caron asked if he thinks global warming is eminent. He does, and feels the debate should not be about whether it is eminent, but "about how we will resolve that." Then, a student asked him if he supports stem cell research...
Tierney: I think that the bill that we passed supporting stem cell research was reasonable, and I supported it.
Near the hour's end, Mr. McKenna talked about how students think all congressmen do is sit at their desks waiting for the bell (sound familiar?), asking Congressman Tierney to describe his job.
Tierney: We're busy. You learn something every day...with luck, you can make a difference.