York Community High School Commencement Address, 2017
Brief – I delivered my high school’s commencement address in May of 2017. I focused on the importance of common ground and listening as students who were going into a highly polarized world. A video recording of the speech can be found here. The transcript is below.
Hello, my name is Dominic Gatti and I would like to start off by saying thank you to all those who enabled me to be speaking up here today. It is an honor to stand before such an accomplished group of students.
This year on speech team I talked about how to find common ground. My speech was structured as an 8-minute presentation chock full of sources and citations, with a full circle ending, and if you weren’t in the event, it was honestly quite boring. I enjoyed giving the speech but I thought that once the season ended in mid-February, I would be done. However, as I sat thinking about what to say, what I wanted to convey to my peers that was important and useful and universal, the only worthwhile thing I could think of was the same topic that I had talked about every Saturday morning at 7 am. The centerpiece of our life at York has been ability to listen to one another, to see each other – to find common ground.
Here at York we had excellent opportunities to express ourselves with the classes we took, clubs we joined and people we interacted with. Yes, we chatted with our friends and ‘listened’ during class discussions, but it is much harder to interact with people in a way that creates insight. The world we head into has not set a good example; there are riots on college campuses, instances of extreme hate and endless streams of narrowly opinionated media. But in spite of the poor example the world has set for us, we individually, have the opportunity to create better. To do that we must recognize that communication is key and the cornerstone of communication is listening. Thank you, mom dad, teachers and principals who have all told us to listen. You are undoubtedly right, but the listening I am talking about asks us to step further. Each of us will meet people we disagree with in the coming years but despite the potential differences, those people deserve our attention and consideration just as we deserve theirs. York has given us ample opportunity to develop and share our thoughts and opinions both in and outside of the classroom and I wish that each of you will carry on the good deed and listen to those you meet. Just as York’s strength lies in its diversity of opinions, our individual strength lies in our commitment to live by the lessons York has taught us; to listen to one another, to see each other – to find common ground.
Now I have never heard a commencement speech that did not make use of a quote, so in good form I bring to you the wise words of Henry David Thoreau: “It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and one to listen.” The truths we discover from others may be simply profound or profoundly simple, but not matter the situation you find yourself in in the coming years, remember to listen to those around you and make use of their wisdom and experiences.
Constituent Letters, 2016
I was responding to a constituent inquire about voting ID laws in Illinois on behalf of the state senator I was interning for.
Dear Mr. ———–,
Thank you for reaching out to my office with your inquiry about voter ID laws.
The most recent legal change that encompassed voter ID laws was signed into law this past year. In registering to vote, one must present two forms of valid identification, and then when they go to cast their ballot, no additional identification is required. If someone registered by mail without a license or a social security number, then they would have to present one form of identification at the polling location. If someone forgets to or is unable to register to vote before the election date, they can show two forms of identification at the polling location, or cast a provisional ballot which goes through extra security measures before it is counted in the election.
The penalty carried by voter identity fraud is heavy – up to $10,000 and/or 5 years in jail. Also, to ensure against voter fraud, the polls are staffed by election judges, and poll watchers are allowed to monitor polling in order to help guarantee the rules are being followed.
The mail-in ballot you received went through other security precautions before it is counted in the election and is then marked down by election judges so that someone cannot vote twice.
I agree that the Illinois voting system can be confusing, so I am glad you reached out and I hope this is helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office either by phone (630-903-6662) or by mail (338 S. Ardmore Ave. Villa Park IL 60181).
In this letter, I was replying to a constituent complaint about the noise of airplanes from the international airport that has flight paths over the senator’s district
Dear Ms. —–,
I very much appreciate you reaching out to my office. The O’Hare noise issue is one we know well, and it is a high concern among our constituents. In order to address this issue, I have worked with various departments and am happy to announce that a program to balance and test the noise disturbances began July 6th.
The Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test Plan is a system to more evenly distribute flight paths around populated areas and route flights over less populated areas such as highways and forest preserves. The majority of the flights that are being re-routed are at night and will be rotated every week.
The program is run by the Chicago Department of Aviation, and they are maintaining a website that requests affected persons to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program in order best address the issue long term. They also have the specifics of the flight rotations as well as more information about the tests on their website (http://www.airportprojects.net/flyquiettest/schedule/).
I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any more questions or comments feel free to reach back out to my office either by mail (338 S Ardmore Ave Villa Park IL 60181) or phone (630-903-6662).