Sen. Norm Coleman visits with Albert Lea students, residents: Hawthorne students learn about senator

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 9, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman stopped by Hawthorne Elementary School Friday to visit Mary Jo Dorman&8217;s class of fifth-graders and teach them a little bit about his job.

&8220;I work in the Senate,&8221; Coleman said. &8220;One of the great things about being in the Senate is you represent the whole state. A senator gets to travel around the whole state and meet people.&8221;

Coleman was followed by a retinue of his own staff and interested adults from the community, who stood in the back of Mrs. Dorman&8217;s room to listen, just as the kids did.

The kids had prepared a list of questions for Coleman before he came, about his background and his job. Coleman explained how he&8217;d grown up in Brooklyn, N. Y. where he&8217;d learned to play softball on concrete &8212; &8220;so I was not very good at sliding into home plate,&8221; he said &8212; and how he came to Minnesota 30 years ago.

He also told them about his visits to China on behalf of the government, and how he played ping-pong with some of the world&8217;s best ping-pong players.

After Coleman finished answering the prepared questions, he opened up the floor to more questions. When one kid asked him if he could ask the president to lower gas prices, he cited increased demand from China and India for oil.

&8220;Some folks say they might go down to $2 in January,&8221; Coleman said.

He also told the kids that every gallon of gas sold in Minnesota is 10 percent ethanol and advocated going to 10 percent ethanol in gasoline nationwide.

&8220;That would affect prices,&8221; Coleman said, because there would be 10 percent less demand for gas in the U.S.