Weekly Columns

Arkansas students are actively playing a positive, productive role in their communities, our state and country. I’ve been impressed by the many young Arkansans I meet who identify a problem and take action to be part of the solution. With their hard work and dedication, they are improving the lives of their neighbors, friends and others who need a helping hand. 

I recently had the opportunity to meet Arkansas youth who are dedicating their time to personal growth and public service through their participation in the Congressional Award program. This award recognizes excellence and service among young Americans who are challenged to set goals and achieve them in specific areas. The program encourages our youth to make positive choices and reinforces the values that set the foundation for the next generation of leaders. It is a worthwhile experience that is incredibly fulfilling for our youth and the organizations where they dedicate their service.  

The Congressional Award is celebrating its partnership with 4-H. This collaboration will open more doors to students interested in improving themselves and their community. I am proud to support this program that challenges young Arkansans to develop valuable skills that will help shape their future.

This school year my office launched our inaugural Congressional Youth Cabinet, a nonpartisan initiative that has allowed young people first-hand experience to engage in the democratic process. Students from each of Arkansas’s four congressional districts participated in the program, which provided them with exposure to the legislative process and presented opportunities to seek out advocacy and civic engagement.

My goal is that this program will foster a lifetime commitment to civic engagement and public service. I have been impressed with these students as they have grown in their knowledge of how our government works and the role that public policy plays in their everyday lives.

The students worked together to craft their proposals on these topics, drawing on their own research and background knowledge. I helped them refine their ideas and offered my advice as to how they could make adjustments to their proposal so as to have the best chance of garnering bipartisan support. I was pleased to join the students recently to hear their ideas for legislation on the issues of rural broadband and internet sales taxes in a final presentation that marked the completion of the program. 

I’m proud of these Arkansans for taking a proactive step to learn more about how they can make a difference and be a force for good. Their participation in the Congressional Youth Cabinet is something they and all of us can be very proud of. I hope their participation in the Congressional Youth Cabinet is something they can point to as having made a distinct and significant contribution to their development as students and informed, engaged citizens. 

It is exciting and encouraging to see young Arkansans are taking advantage of opportunities to improve themselves and their communities. Their actions to make the world a better place continue to give me confidence that a bright future lies ahead for Arkansas.