Sussex Central senior gearing to ‘wing’ it at U.S. Senate Youth Program

Charlie megginson outside 1

Charlie Megginson IV, a senior at Sussex Central High School, is one of 104 delegates for the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 5-12, in Washington, D.C.

GEORGETOWN — Charles Megginson IV is a senior at Sussex Central High School.

He is one of two students from Delaware selected as delegates to the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program March 5-12, in Washington, D.C.

The group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 54th annual Washington Week.

At Sussex Central he serves as the vice president of the Delaware Business Professionals of America and has served for two terms as executive president of the Student Council. He is the captain of his school’s Mock Trial Team and plans to follow this career path by studying political science in college and going to law school.

Mr. Megginson is a Boy Scout working on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He is a student in the International Baccalaureate program and takes University of Delaware courses through the Academic Challenge program.

Job-wise, he is in clothing sales at Tommy Bahama in the Tanger Outlet. He previously was the pools department manager for Tunnel Companies.

Here then is a conservative conversation with Charlie Megginson IV.

In general, what are some highlights of Senate Youth Program/Washington Week?

“Some of the ideas that we will debate and come up with will be conveyed to members of the actual Senate and hopefully maybe they can take some of the young people’s ideas and turn them into action. The majority of the week will be listening to members of the government, whether they are members of bureaucracies or members of the executive branch. We’re meeting with all the senators. There are a lot of people we will be meeting with, and we will be meeting with the President. I assume it will be brief and completely orchestrated; that would be like a handshake and photo kind of deal.”

Last year you did not receive a Senate Youth nomination:

“Last year when I tried to get the nomination I decided I would take a non-partisan position as to not offend anyone. This year when I went in for my interview I asked myself, ‘What are the biggest problems and what are the solutions?’ The solution to almost every problem I can think of in our country is a solution that only a conservative can solve or come up with. The answer is by adopting conservative strategies and conservative policies.”

As a Republican, you are in the Senate Youth minority?

“We have assembled a group message amongst all of the members to kind of come up with a platform to address, and it is very clear. I am a Republican. And it is very clear that the Republicans are in the minority in the program. So we have been discussing what issues we might find it worthwhile to address while we are there that might actually come to fruition. I think it is like 75 Democrats to us Republicans. So we are a very small minority.”

Does the GOP minority have a top priority?

“There are a few things. We want to address the Syrian refugee crisis and see what the best solution is. You know a lot of people are offended by comments, like Donald Trump who says that we should put a temporary ban on Muslims until we can figure out a proper way to vet them. While I don’t know if that is the best way to address the issue and most of the other Republicans in the group agree with me, we all agree we shouldn’t accept anybody until we know for sure that they are coming here with the right intentions. So whether that means they are a Muslim or whether that means that they are someone coming from Mexico, or someone coming from China, if we don’t know why they are here and what they are going to be doing here once they get here, they shouldn’t be allowed in. That is how we are going to address that issue in Washington. That is the No. 1 issue because it involves the safety of the citizens.”

How about another hot topic?

“The No. 2 issue – and this is one we don’t expect to get anywhere on – is the economy. The reason we don’t expect to get anywhere on this issue is because the Democrats insist the economy is doing well. But the facts say that it isn’t. We are going to be looking at ways to make college more affordable, first of all; not making college free.”

“We’re going to be looking at ways to increase actual employment. They keep citing statistics saying our economy is doing well because employment is up. But suppose you were an executive of a company making $200,000 a year and you got laid off, so you went to be a grocery clerk, or if you had to work two jobs, then technically employment statistics would go up. So if that is the only reflection of how the economy is doing then that is really meaningless, because the amount of jobs is irrelevant; it is the quality of the jobs and the amount that these people are earning for working those jobs.”

Is that a segue to the issue of minimum wage?

“That plays right into the Democrats’ agenda because the more people they have working $11 an hour, the harder they can push for minimum wage to increase. I don’t want to say it is all part of some sort of scheme but I do want to say that it works out to their advantage. The economy is not doing well, and that is a simple fact. For 38 months now, there have been record highs in terms of people on food stamps. So I think that is a better reflection of how the economy is doing rather than employment numbers; the fact that more now than ever people are on food stamps.”

At Sussex Central, you are a leader. Was that always the case?

“It is something that I have acquired. I don’t think that anyone is born with the ability to lead, but the reason and way that that is acquired is simply by people taking chances on me.”

“In middle school, I was the class clown. One of my teachers recognized that instead of using my loud mouth for being a class clown I might be able to use it for some good. So I got involved in Student Council. She brought me an application to run for State Student Council in middle school, and somehow I was elected state Student Council president. I had no experience in leadership and that is just how it happened. And ever since then it has been a position that I have been comfortable in. Since then every opportunity I have had is just another example of people taking chances on me, and betting on me.”

You credit several people in particular for taking those chances. Robert Tunnell is one:

“One of the biggest things I could credit … I had an internship with Robert Tunnell. He owns Baywood and Pot-Nets Tunnell Companies. The summer in between my freshman and sophomore year … one day I was driving down the road and I saw typos on signs advertising model homes in the community. Like any concerned citizen I sent Robert Tunnell an email, just to let him know. He sent me an email back, thanking me, saying that it would be fixed. So a month later I emailed him, asking for a job. His response was that ‘he assumes I am not looking for a waiter job at the restaurant and why don’t I come in for an interview to be his intern.’ And so for one year I was Robert Tunnell’s intern, learning everything I know about business, politics and government. We were at Legislative Hall once a week, lobbying for issues that he was passionate about. So I credit most of my – not my leadership skills – but my political and business to acumens to Robert Tunnell.”

State Rep. Ruth Briggs King is another?

“She is another person that really has been pivotal in my life and has taken chances on me. I was involved in politics and I sent her an email probably when I was 12 … saying that I want to be more involved. And even though I can’t vote I still feel like I can find ways to give myself a voice. I was knocking on doors for Ruth Briggs King in her last two elections.”

“I spent the end of last summer up at Legislative Hall shadowing Rep. King. And it is my hope that the other Republican representatives will agree with Ruth’s nomination for me to be the Republican paige in the summer session. That is something we have had conversations about. I would be honored to have that experience.”

What are your college plans?

“I will be studying political science. I will be going to law school after that. I have applications out to 10 schools; I received word back from five of them that I have been accepted. Where I want to go is the University of Pittsburgh.”

You’ve experienced both sides of life’s track?

“I first of all am I child of divorce. Until I was about 12 years old I lived a very comfortable lifestyle. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She never had a reason to work a job. When they split my dad moved to D.C., and we were poor. There is no getting around it. There were times that we couldn’t pay the gas bill so we would heat water in the microwave and pour it in the bathtub so that we could take warm baths.”

Most nights were Hamburger Helper, ravioli; it was rough for a little while. My mom, on government assistance, went to Del Tech. She got a college degree in accounting. She is a para-legal at a law firm now and she makes very good money. And that is because of the help that she was able to get from the government.”

“This is common misconception about Republicans; Democrats think that Conservatives are against welfare. We completely disagree with that statement. We believe in welfare as a hand up, not a hand out. And when my mom and my family needed it most we got a hand up. And because of that we live a very comfortable lifestyle now. That’s why I am a Conservative. I am not a Conservative because my parents told me I should be or because I was raised watching Fox News. I am a Conservative because I was once poor and now I am not, and that is because we live in the greatest country in the world.”

You say your generation faces a world of danger?

“I am not blaming anyone but I am saying we are coming into a very dangerous world – a world in economic turmoil and if we don’t do something fast to turn it around … my generation will be the first generation who will live not nearly as good as our parents. My mom and dad have told me a thousand times; the dream of every parent is to create lives for their children that are better than their own. By happenstance we are being dealt a really bad set of hands. I hope that in Washington Week my peers – whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent – will set politics aside and frankly set compassion aside, and look at the arguments objectively and try to calculate what the best approach is so that we can turn our country around. Hopefully we can set politics aside and have an honest discussion without bashing each other’s opinions about the best solutions for the problems.”

Is there a ‘fun fact’ about Charlie Megginson IV?

“I don’t want people to think that I am some sort of goodie two shoes student. If you looked at my resume you would see my proudest accomplishment – and this is true – is I did the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazing Wing Challenge. It was 12 of their spiciest wings – five minutes on the clock, no water, no silverware, no napkins – just a man and 12 of the hottest wings that Buffalo Wild Wings sells. That is my proudest accomplishment. I have done a lot. I have a big resume in terms of my extra-curricular activities, but nothing – no accomplishment – I am prouder of than that. People dare to me to do something; I feel a certain obligation to do it.”

And where might you be 10 or 20 years from now?

“I will be a second- or third-year attorney with a law firm; hopefully, a criminal attorney, that is where I see myself. And I will be struggling to get all of my work done. Twenty years from now it’s hard to say. Ultimately I would like to be a judge, I think.  I don’t have a life plan and I will be satisfied as long as I know I am helping other people – whether that is as an attorney, or as a judge, or in some other career of public service.”

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