Assemblyman opens students’ eyes to political careers at Benjamin Cardozo High School job fair

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

Over 100 seniors at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside got the opportunity to learn firsthand about what a career in politics entails.

The Bayside high school at 57-00 223rd St. welcomed Assemblyman Ed Braunstein to its third annual career fair to talk to students about his job as state assemblymember.

“What we do up in Albany is we pass laws for the state and we decide how all the state tax money is spent,” said Braunstein. “I have a seat on the floor in the assembly chamber. I get together with my colleagues, we vote on bills. If it passes the assembly [and] if it passes the Senate, the governor signs it and it becomes the law of the State of New York.”

Students who sat in on the assemblyman’s presentation were seniors studying government in class. The teens were encouraged to ask questions including what type of education was required to become a state assembly member.

“A lot of people are lawyers because at the end of the day, we’re making laws. But there’s people of so many different backgrounds in the state assembly,” Braunstein said. “It depends on who the constituents want to send and sometimes someone has an expertise in a certain industry [and] can bring that expertise to the state assembly.”

Other guests included nearly 40 professionals from varied industries, according to AP English teacher and assistant principal Beth Kierez who organized the fair. Her goal was to provide students with several career options, including some that did not necessarily require pursuing a college education.

“We realized that they don’t really know when they’re applying for college what they want to do. So maybe if we gave them people who are in the field to talk to they could at least have another idea,” said Kierez who added that 15 of the participants were returning Cardozo alumni.

Class of 1972 alum Cindy Begel talked to students about her “non-traditional” career path as a television and sitcom writer. The writer shared how she originally wanted to be a broadcast journalist but a graduate school scriptwriting class put her on a different path.

“The kids a lot of times they think they have to be an accountant, a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, so I wanted to talk about what it’s like when you pick something that isn’t a clear path,” Begel said.

Begel’s impressive writing credits include classics such as Laverne and Shirley,  Mork and Mindy, Happy Days and Married with Children.