In the News

Smith teaches students lesson about paying attention to politics

Southeast Missourian

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Washington, DC, November 8, 2015 | By Katie Lamb | comments
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith takes questions from sixth-grade students during a visit to Scott City Middle School on Friday.

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, visited with sixth-graders Friday at Scott City Middle School, where he stressed the importance of staying up-to-date on decisions made by legislators and answered questions from students.

At the beginning of his visit, Smith asked the students whether they followed decisions he made during the previous week, and many responded, "No."

He then asked how they would feel about going to school year-round. The students were quick to start shouting and shaking their heads.

"What if I told you that we passed a bill this week that is now sitting on the president's desk about whether you're going to go to school year-round," he asked, and the students continued to shout, "No."

"So, why weren't you paying attention to what I was doing last week? Because that bill drastically affects you all on a daily basis."

The sixth-graders breathed a sigh of relief when Smith said he was joking about the bill.

He used the example to tell students they are more affected by the votes he takes in Congress than their parents, he said, because it's going to affect them longer.

"Whenever we deal with Social Security, it's going to affect you all greater than it will your parents and grandparents," he said. "Because that's how it's going to be in 30, 40, 60 years, rather than in 10 or 15. So, I think it's important to watch, whether it's taxes or going to school year-round."

The students have been studying the Constitution and the role of government, so Smith described what it's like to be a U.S. representative -- from sleeping on an air mattress in his office in Washington, D.C., to how he travels throughout the district during his time in Missouri.

Smith also told the students, even if they're from a small town, they can do anything they want to accomplish.

Smith's father was an auto mechanic, he said, and his mother worked at a factory.

"I come from a family where my parents weren't politicians, and they weren't in government," Smith said. "The last thing they thought was their son would be in Congress, representing 750,000 people.

"I say that to you all, because whatever you want to do, you can achieve and you can do it. It doesn't matter where you come from or how you're raised, just if you believe in it and you get the proper education and work hard." 

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Tags: Education