As campaign managers and political advisers for George W. Bush Jr. and Al Gore gear up for November's presidential elections, one Glen Oaks teen has his own ideas about what it takes to lead the country, and state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) agrees.
Weprin chose 13-year-old Matthew Murphy's essay on "What Makes a Good President?" as the winning entry in his annual "Assemblyman for a Day" contest. Matthew will spend a day in Albany as part of the state Legislature in May.
"I feel very good," said the seventh-grader at Our Lady of the Snows school in Glen Oaks. "And I was surprised."
Matthew said he found inspiration for his winning essay, which maintained courage, honesty, and leadership are what it takes to run the United States, by looking at current politics, including the presidential primaries and the Clinton administration.
The teen said he thought about the White House and how he would vote if he were old enough. "I've been watching the primaries and keeping in touch," he said.
Weprin said "Matthew's essay is a testimony to the faith and trust he has in America. The leadership qualities expounded upon are principles that we should bring to our everyday lives."
Matthew said he decided to focus on courage, honesty and leadership in his essay because those are all qualities a person needs to direct a nation.
"You need courage to lead this big country," he said. "You need to be honest and you need to have a lot of leadership skills."
Matthew's parents, Claudia and Edwine, said they were proud of their son's accomplishment.
"I think its wonderful," Claudia Murphy said. "He's always been a good student. We are extremely proud of him."
While Matthew Murphy was excited about winning the contest, he was also curious about how he would spend his day at the state capital early next month.
"I'm wondering what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm afraid he's going to hand me paperwork."
After a moment, though, Matthew changed his mind.
"Well, he probably won't make me do paperwork," he said. "I think I'm going to get to meet some important people."
©2000 Community News Group
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