Congressman urges Alexandria High students to get involved
Written by Bret H. McCormick
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander encouraged a group of Alexandria Senior High students on Thursday to get involved politically and make a difference in their community.
Alexander, the Republican U.S. representative from Quitman, told between 150 and 200 civics and history students that he first became involved politically in the early 1970s when he joined the Jackson Parish Police Jury. From there Alexander moved to the state Legislature and later to Congress.
Although his political jobs moved from Jonesboro to Baton Rouge and and Washington, D.C., Alexander said he remains a strong advocate of local politics.
"Everything you do throughout the course of the day is affected by someone making a political decision," Alexander said.
The 5th Congressional District, which Alexander serves, is the largest in the state, stretching from the Arkansas border south of Interstate 10 and covering the eastern half of the state, and it's one of the largest in the country, he said. Alexander said he tries to get around as much as possible to speak to constituents, many of whom are trying to make a difference.
Alexander encouraged the students to take a similar approach. "Try to change it," he told the students about their community. "Try to make it better."
Alexander also opened the floor to take a number of questions ranging on topics such as foreign policy, education, taxes and infrastructure.
Dylan Tran, a junior at ASH, asked Alexander his thoughts on how much information the government should keep concealed as opposed to the public's right to know. Tran said events such as Alexander speaking were "absolutely great" to giving the public an insight into how government works.
"It's an excellent way to make it better and make it more accessible," Tran said.
Alexander spent a good deal of time addressing educational issues, saying he was concerned about the future of his grandchildren if the country's educational system doesn't improve.
"We need to give young men and women the tools to meet the future," he said.
All U.S. representatives will be up for re-election this fall, and with a presidential election also on the ballot, Alexander said there will be added attention to the congressional races. He said the presidential election adds excitement to the political process.
"I encourage you to watch it, listen and observe what's going on," Alexander said.