Commissioner Shares Experiences with American Government Students

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The freshman legislator candidly described the race, strains of negative campaigning.

Newly elected West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio recently described her experiences with Northwood University Introduction to American Government students.

Appointed by the West Palm Beach City Commission last year to fill its legislative branch vacancy created due to the untimely death of Commissioner Bill Moss who died before he could be sworn in, Materio originally served the position temporarily until winning a special election to fill the vacancy.

Candidly describing her race to keep the seat while undergoing the strains of negative campaigning, Materio, a family run business executive, described her experiences as a freshman legislator, having never before held public office. A lively question and answer period then followed her presentation in which students queried how she performed her role as a public servant in a local government with a strong mayoral system, and more.

"The students learned how a legislature functions, the ins and outs of campaigning for public office, and the strains of going through a hotly contested election. Hearing about such processes directly from someone who went through them, is a greater learning experience than reading it in a text book, and listening to classroom lectures," said Professor Ira J. Raab, a retired Justice of the New York State Supreme Court.

While regularly hosting a variety of class speakers, the Introduction to American Government class provides an overview of United States government institutions, the policymaking process, public opinion, and elections. It also provides an opportunity for students to think critically about complex political and social issues.