AMES, Iowa--Mariah Klemp tackles tough societal issues with research, evaluating the pros and cons. She wants Iowa citizens to be prepared to do the same.
That determination to make informed decisions and to share information with others led her to the Iowa State Fair and a chance to talk with Terry Branstad, Des Moines University president and former Iowa Governor.
Branstad had volunteered to participate in a Celebrity Showcase event August 18 put on by Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. The showcase allows high profile professionals to showcase 4-H youth and their project work on stage in the 4-H Exhibits Building at the fair.
Klemp, a 15-year-old 4-H’er from Waucoma in Fayette County, earned her way to the fair with an in-depth study of the death penalty. The study showed her skill in presenting two sides of an argument, but leaving the choice to the individual.
A sophomore at Turkey Valley High School, Klemp stated that this political issue may be placed before Iowans in the near future because gubernatorial rivals Republican Jim Nussle and Democrat Chet Culver both favor the death penalty.
Branstad, who sought a limited application of the death penalty while in office, said that the issue could be kept from reaching a vote if the legislature is evenly divided on the topic. He lauded Klemp’s research, saying that he was impressed with her ability to keep her personal views out of the study.
Mariah, the daughter of Scott and Marlene Klemp. said she hopes people will read information and think about the seriousness of the issue.
“People in Iowa need to talk with their legislators to express their opinions about the death penalty,” she said.
Issues is one of nearly 60 project areas offered to members of the Iowa 4-H program. 4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.