Eight cadets studying domestic affairs from the U.S. Military Academy West Point had the opportunity to tour the city of Santa Clarita and meet with Mayor Laurene Weste, along with a variety of city staff, to learn more about local politics and governance.
Starting off their tour of Santa Clarita was a sit-down conversation with Weste in the council chambers. The cadets learned about the city’s history, budget process, local issues and current challenges on the local, state and federal level.
“I am extremely honored to have had the opportunity to speak with these cadets to teach them more about our local government and give them insight to how our city operates and functions,” said Weste. “It is pivotal to have youth like these cadets become engaged in local government to learn more about how they can make a positive impact for their community and for their future.”
After their time with the mayor, the cadets traveled throughout the city to different facilities. This included the city’s Corporate Yard, where they were able to be hands-on and learn about how the city creates street signs, works on the fleet of cars and trucks, as well as the multiple divisions that make up Public Works. Another stop on their tour was to the new Canyon Country Community Center, where the cadets were able to spend time with kids from the after-school program. Participants in the program learned about what the cadets do and were even taught a West Point chant.
Finally, the cadets walked through Old Town Newhall, learning about the history of the area, including the Veterans Historical Plaza, Library and the new Laemmle Theater. The cadets also learned about the collaboration between the city and local businesses, as well as the importance of having a dedicated district for arts and entertainment.
The cadets concluded the tour at the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, where they met with Lt. Rod Loughridge to learn more about their role and partnership with the city.
Maj. Brian Harris, the faculty leader who accompanied the cadets on their trip, had worked with the city in the past. In 2019, Harris researched and developed a free homeless action plan, analyzing the best ways to count the homeless population, for his capstone project at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. This report was then presented to the city’s Homeless Task Force.