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YPO students visit Capital, legislators

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By The Staff

 Grant County High Senior Andrew Moffett plans to eventually make it to Frankfort to represent the voters.

“I want to get into the Senate,” he said. “That’s my dream.”

Moffett saw a glimpse of his dream recently as he joined 12 Williamstown and Grant County high school students who got an up close view of how state government works.

The group from the Young Professionals Organization (YPO), a partnership with the local school districts and the Grant County Chamber of Commerce, went to Frankfort on March 4 to tour the Capital and meet with local legislators.

The day started with their attendance at an Agriculture and Small Business Committee meeting where Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge,  recognized the students.

After the meeting, Adams took the group to his office before taking them on a tour of the Capital.

“There’s only 14 other legislators that have been here longer than I have,” he told the students. “Seniority means a lot, especially when you get committee assignments. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been on the Appropriations and Revenue Committee for 12 years. It’s an honor to serve on that committee because you do have control of how the money is spent. That’s important.”

During the tour, the students saw the Senate floor, the House of Representatives, the Kentucky Supreme Court and had a brief, unexpected encounter with Gov. Steve Beshear.

“It was nice,” Easton McClanahan, a Williamstown Senior High freshman, said about meeting the governor. “I’ve heard about him, but this put a face with the name.”

The day concluded with a Senate State and Local Government Committee meeting chaired by Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, who also recognized the students.

The senator spoke with the students after the meeting adjourned about issues facing the county.

He said he was fighting for funding for a vocational school and detailed the importance of road construction.

“Once we get Barnes Road widened to three lanes with a turn lane in the middle, there is a developer who owns the land on the north side of the road that wants to build a major grocery store like a Kroger,” Thayer said. “They want to build a major home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes. They want to build a restaurant like O’Charley’s or Applebee’s. Can you imagine how the face of Grant County would change?”

Public service is something the students all should consider, Thayer said.

“It’s a high calling,” he said. “It’s difficult and challenging, but nothing worth doing in life is easy.”

The students, some who had been to Frankfort before and some who had not, all enjoyed different aspects of their trip.

“I probably learned the most about people around places like the Capital,”  said Trent Wilson, a Grant County High School sophomore. “Definitely, everyone is very busy. People are actually nice. It’s not like those TV shows that they show you.”

“It was very educational,” said Coleman Simpson, a Williamstown Senior High sophomore. “I really enjoyed the Senate committee that we went to. I enjoyed having our own little tour around the Capital. I’ve always thought about being a politician. So, it was just a really enjoyable experience.”

For Moffett, the visit, which will not be his last, did not disappoint.

“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “Royce Adams and Damon Thayer are great representatives. So, I thought it was awesome they were there to help us and give us a tour. Royce got us in doors that we normally wouldn’t be able to get into. I had a great time.”