Kids Town Hall Meeting Brings Fresh Perspective to Denton Government
Newly elected city councilwoman Deb Armintor held her first town hall Saturday, September 15, and it catered to local Denton children. Donuts were served in the morning as rules were laid out for the event. Parents couldn’t speak and only the children could ask questions and give feedback.
The children, whose ages ranged from 3-17, brought their unique perspectives to solutions for city problems, as well as questions to ask the councilwoman.
“Kids are probably my favorite constituents. They’re our future and they may not be able to vote, but they have a lot of great ideas and they’re affected by the decisions we make so I wanted to be able to hear that,” said Armintor.
The questions ranged from why the city didn’t have more trees to how Armintor was going to keep it safer. Grade school children voiced their concerns for they’ve experiencing at schools, with Armintor encouraging them to speak to or email other council members, as well, in order to collaborate with Denton ISD.
Henry May is a fifth grader whose father brought her to the meeting. She’s now ready to send a few emails after getting feedback from Armintor. She has her own email and wants to be able to send picture attachments for reference.
“I think it was really great because it was the kids giving good ideas and that doesn’t happen a lot,” said May.
Her father, Andrew May, learned about the event by word of mouth, but was very excited about the concept. Especially he feels since public engagement in government is on the decline.
“It’s very unusual for our elected representatives to solicit the opinions and ideas of children, because of course children can’t vote. The idea of getting people together to discuss and solve problems is so important to democracy and maintaining our way of life,” said the older May.
He’s appreciative of Armintor for hosting the event. Armintor was elected to seat 5 back June. She is still currently a UNT English professor and credits her grassroots victory for landing her in her seat. She’s equally appreciative of the children of Denton getting their voices heard.
“I feel smarter now,” said Armintor.