Three local students represent Carter County at 4-H Congress

Published 12:16 am Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Three local students from August 15-18 represented the Carter County 4-H at the 74th Tennessee State 4-H Congress in Nashville. Students from each region of the state gathered for three days of studying government, touring the Capitol and experiencing first-hand the legislation process of our state government.
The main aspect of 4-H Congress is when students, acting in the roles of senators and representatives, gather in their respective chambers and participate in a mock debate and vote on four bills at the Capitol building. The four bills that were debated were all recently discussed and voted on the actual state legislative session earlier this year. These bills included raising the minimum wage to $10, a bill prohibiting colleges from requiring the ACT for admission; and a bill proposing college athletes be granted the ability to receive income from sponsorship deals with companies, and, finally, a bill proposing that all children from K-12 be required to have the COVID-19 vaccination to attend school.
Each time a bill was introduced in the Chamber an opening argument was given for each side. Then, the floor was opened for the senators and representatives a chance to speak. The speakers of the House and Senate were in charge of directing the discussions and allowing certain members to share their thoughts on the bill.
Following the debates, the counties represented, each led by a volunteer 4-H leader and/or county extension agents, were able to tour the Capitol building and venture around Nashville. It was an extremely interesting and fun part of the trip. Also, the 4-H Congress attendees were split into groups and half of them attended classes at Tennessee State University while the others debated at the Capitol.
Classes for the 4-Hers to attend included “From Your Point of View: Engaging in Civil Discourse;” “How A Bill Gets to the Legislature;” “Service Learning Steps to Address Global Needs;” “Parliamentary Procedure: Beyond the Basics;” and “Don’t Run Afowl of the Fowl: A Civil Approach to Addressing An Issue of Concern.” We found all to be informative classes.
Tuesday, there were 4-H elections to vote on 4-H Congress officers for the year; a general assembly meeting where 2021 Tennessee 4-H Gov. Hadley Brown from Sumner County presided; a Tennessee 4-H History Bowl, entertainment and announcement of the 2022 4-H officers. Following the general assembly, 4-Hers and leaders boarded buses and headed to the General Jackson Showboat for a luncheon, show, and awards ceremony.
Members later returned to the Convention Center for a formal Citizenship Banquet, where volunteers were recognized for their support through their years of 4-H service, state winning 4-H speech winners gave their speeches, various donors and special guests were recognized, and lastly, new officers of the Tennessee 4-H Congress were installed. Following the banquet, an inaugural ball was held.
Representing the Carter County 4-H Club at the Congress were Senators Luke Anglin and Elijah Smith and Rep. Elissah Sizemore along with Jennifer Sizemore, 4-H Volunteer Leader.
The time I had at 4-H Congress was very enjoyable and incredibly educational. It was an experience that I am grateful to have had. The highlight of the trip was getting to see Gov. Bill Lee up close as he walked into his press conference room to announce a policy he was just implementing. 
I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend 4-H Congress and I would recommend this opportunity to others.

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